Yosemite: Threatened by Fire

The Ferguson Fire is racing toward one of the crown jewels of the national park system.

The fast-spreading Ferguson fire — which has already burned some 47 square miles and claimed the life of one firefighter — is now threatening Yosemite National Park, one of the most-visited of America's parks and home to Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and other iconic natural wonders.

DOING WHAT THEY CAN NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images DOING WHAT THEY CAN The fire, which started on July 13, claimed the life of one firefighter on its first day: According to the L.A. Times, a bulldozer tumbled down a hillside as firefighters were constructing a defensive line. A U.S. Forest Service spokesperson said that as of Sunday, six firefighters had been injured. Above: Firefighters create a firebreak to slow the blaze. FUELING THE FIRE NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images FUELING THE FIRE The fire grew when it reached a huge grove of dead pine trees. In recent years, millions of trees in California have been killed by the drought that racked the state and by an invasion of bark-beetles. Some of those trees are now fueling the Ferguson Fire.

More Stories From FOTO

HELP FROM ABOVE NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images HELP FROM ABOVE An estimated 3,000 firefighters and personnel are trying to contain the flames, but the steep terrain and lack of access roads make it a tough battle to fight. Dozens of water-dropping helicopters and planes are fighting the fire from above. SMOKE IN YOSEMITE NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images SMOKE IN YOSEMITE The air in parts of the valley is thick with smoke and has been deemed unhealthy. Here, smoke hangs over the Yosemite View Lodge. AN UPHILL BATTLE NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images AN UPHILL BATTLE

NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images SMOKE-FILLED SKIES NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images SMOKE-FILLED SKIES The fire has closed some roads into Yosemite, and several campgrounds have been closed as well. Here, tourists wear masks in the midst of smoke-filled skies.

For more FOTO stories directly in your inbox, sign up for our free weekly newsletter.