Monday Aug 26, 201306:16 AM GMT
Fire threatens San Francisco water supplies
Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:14AM
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A wildfire in the US state of California continues to grow and is now threatening San Francisco's water and electricity supplies, officials said.


The fire, already one of the biggest in California’s history, has prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some residents near Yosemite National Park and raising anxiety among state officials.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir has not yet seen any interruptions in services, but that two hydro-electric plants have sustained damage in the fire.

“We are monitoring water quality every minute of each day to ensure its quality and safety,” the commission said.

The reservoir, which supplies water to 2.6 million customers, accounts for 85 percent of San Francisco’s water supply.

Tuolumne County officials announced that all schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

The so-called Rim Fire burned about 134,000 acres as of late Sunday, making it the 14th largest fire since 1932 when California began keeping records on wildfires, according to the newspaper.

More than 2,800 firefighters, supported by helicopters and air tankers, are struggling to contain the flames. But firefighters have so far contained only seven percent of the fire, which began just over a week ago.

Extremely dry conditions and the inaccessible terrain in the affected area have hampered efforts to douse the huge fire.

The fire has not yet caused any loss of life but it caused economic concerns in Tuolumne County, which stretches from about 30 miles west of Yosemite almost to the eastern edge of the park.

ARA/ARA
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