Fire closes landmark Yosemite tourist trail

Fire closes landmark Yosemite tourist trail
This July 9, 2014 file photo shows the Half Dome at the Yosemite National Park in California.

LOS ANGELES - A raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park saw access closed Tuesday to the towering Half Dome peak, one of the most famous landmarks at the world-renowned tourist venue.

Millions of visitors flock to Yosemite, in California, every year, many hiking up trails onto the vast rock formation which overlooks Yosemite Valley.

But the fire, which broke out Sunday and has some 330 firefighters tackling it, has forced park authorities to close a number of trails, including those leading up the back of Half Dome.

"The Meadow Fire has progressed rapidly and in multiple directions... conditions are smoky and are predicted to remain smoky for the next few days," the park said on its website.

The blaze has spread to nearly 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares). It was only five-per cent contained by Tuesday morning.

As well as trails to the 8,800-feet Half Dome, the fire has also closed some paths in Little Yosemite Valley, Merced Lake, the Sunrise High Sierra Camps, Clouds Rest and Echo Valley, according to park officials.

Last year, a gigantic blaze - the third largest in Californian history - ripped through a swath of Yosemite, burning 257,314 acres.

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