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California Briefing / MARIPOSA

Telegraph fire evacuees return

August 02, 2008|Eric Bailey

The last of the hundreds of residents uprooted by a blaze that charred 53 square miles of Mariposa County west of Yosemite returned to their fire-blackened neighborhoods late Friday, officials announced.

The week-old fire was 60% contained Friday night after destroying 21 homes outside the towns of Midpines and Mariposa, forcing out hundreds of residents, and cutting power and pouring smoke into the nearby national park.

An army of 4,500 firefighters, 65 bulldozers and two dozen water-dropping helicopters and air tankers helped stall the 34,000-acre conflagration a dozen miles from Yosemite's entrance on California 140.

The flames continued Friday to press against fire lines to the north and east, posing a potential threat to hundreds of homes tucked in backwoods rural towns such as Greeley Hill, Briceburg, Coulterville, Bear Valley and Mt. Bullion Camp.

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