A California wildfire that has scorched an area roughly the size of Chicago near Yosemite National Park was 15 percent contained Monday morning — a jump from 7 percent the previous night, officials said.
But the so-called Rim Fire, stretching 234 square miles, still threatens some 4,500 structures as well as the power and water utilities in San Francisco, roughly 200 miles to the west. It has already charred some 149,780 acres.
The raging flames also loomed over towering sequoias that are among the largest and oldest living things on the planet. The iconic trees can withstand fire, but brutal conditions — including harsh winds and thick brush — have prompted park employees to take extra precautions in the Tuolumne and Merced groves, according to the AP.