Yosemite Valley Will Close to Visitors as the Ferguson Fire Rages Nearby

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Parts of Yosemite National Park will close as firefighters battle the Ferguson Fire, which has burned since July 13th.

As the fire, raging in a nearby county, sent choking smoke into the historic valley, the Fresno Bee reported that officials were telling those still in the park to leave as soon as possible. "Get yourself out of here if you can," Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds told a group of tourists and park employees, according to the Bee.

Over 3,000 fire personnel are currently fighting the massive blaze, as well as 16 helicopters and two tanker planes, the New York Times reports. The fire has already claimed the life of one firefighter and injured several others.

As the fire moves eastward toward Yosemite, officials told the Bee that one of their top priorities is to keep the flames from invading the national park.

Huge swaths of Yosemite's backcountry burned in the Rim fire in 2013. That fire burned over 250,000 acres. As of July 24th, the Ferguson fire had consumed over 36,000 acres of land and was reportedly only 25 percent contained.

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