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California Battling Wildfire the Size of Chicago

The Rim Fire "has continued to pose every challenge that there can be on a fire," says state official

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The Rim Fire continues to blaze in northern California on Monday and has become one of California's largest wildfires.

The drought-fueled wildfire, one of a dozen currently scorching the state, broke out Aug. 17 and has already engulfed an area about the size of Chicago.

It has "extreme growth potential," and is currently only 15 percent contained, as over three thousand firefighters continue to battle the blaze that has now crossed into Yosemite National Park.

According to what one official told the Associated Press, the wildfire now has such force that it is creating its own weather pattern.  "As the smoke column builds up it breaks down and collapses inside of itself, sending downdrafts and gusts that can go in any direction," CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant told AP.

Among the potential casualties of the fire are Yosemite's ancient, iconic sequoia trees:

Concerns are also growing that the fire will threaten the Hetch Hetchy reservoir which supplies water to San Francisco.

"This fire has continued to pose every challenge that there can be on a fire," said Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Flickr user Geoff Quinn has more dramatic photos of the fire:

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One video being widely shared on Monday is this 90-second explanation, "How Climate Change Fuels Wildfires," from Climate Desk:

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