YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – A large wildfire burning in Yosemite National Park has continued to grow in size, but firefighters working to extinguish the blaze are making extraordinary containment progress.
As of Tuesday morning, the Washburn Fire has burned 3,221 acres of pristine landscape and is currently 22% contained, two days ago the fire was uncontrolled.
The Washburn Fire started on July 7 near the Washburn Trail in the Mariposa Grove area of Yosemite National Park in California.
Officials have yet to determine what sparked the blaze, but FOX News correspondent Claudia Cowan said no lightning strikes were reported in the area when the fire broke out.
Hundreds of fire personnel have been assigned to contain and extinguish the fire, not only because the fire is burning near communities where people live, but it's threatening a national treasure.
The Mariposa Grove is home to hundreds of massive sequoia trees, including the famous Grizzly Giant that stands hundreds of feet tall and is 3,000 years old.
To protect the Grizzly Giant and other trees, firefighters installed sprinklers to keep the giant sequoias from burning.
"We're trying to give it some, you know, preventative first aid," Yosemite Fire and Aviation Management said on Saturday.
Sprinkler systems were also set up along roads with the most significant risk for fire spread.
"We are so thankful for the 600 fire folks who are out here fighting this fire and keeping these (trees) around for the next generation," said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon.
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The fire has also been sending smoke into surrounding communities in Northern California.
Air Quality Alerts were issued Monday for sensitive groups in parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, including Yosemite National Park.
The wind shifted on Tuesday, and most of the smoke is now being sent into parts of Nevada, according to the National Weather Service.
In addition to the hundreds of firefighters on the ground working to extinguish the Washburn Fire, several firefighting aircraft have also been attacking the flames from the sky.
There was a close call for some of those airplanes over the weekend. On July 9, a tree branch was sent into the air from a powerful updraft produced by the fire, according to fire officials. As it dropped back to the ground, it narrowly missed two of those airplanes. Fortunately, there were no injuries or damage reported.
"We are all grateful for the hard work and risks taken by everyone involved with the firefighting effort," officials said in a statement.
Several roads are also closed due to firefighting efforts.
The National Park Service has reported that Wawona, Wawona Road south of Yosemite West and the Mariposa Grove will be closed until further notice. In addition, the south entrance to the park remains closed and visitors are instructed to use other entrances.