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Thunderstorms Could Complicate Yosemite Fire Fight; Nearby Sand Fire 75% Contained

SHINGLE SPRINGS, El Dorado County (CBS SF) — The fire danger was high Tuesday morning as crews battle two massive wildfires in Northern California.

In Yosemite National Park, where the fire is only 5 percent contained, firefighters will be watching the sky closely Tuesday night as a thunderstorm is expected to roll through.

MORE: Complete Wildfire Coverage

Crews say that's a mixed blessing. Rain could help in the containment effort, but a lightning strike could turn a bad situation even more dire, potentially sparking another fire. One woman already lost her home.

"It was a matter of moments from it going from white whispy smoke in the El Portal area to a big black churning cloud to this orange wall of flames coming our direction," she said at a public meeting. "In five minutes it turned into trees torching around our house."

An estimated 100 homes in Foresta and the small community of Old El Portal remained under evacuation.

Yosemite is still open for tourists, but some main roads like Big Oak Flat Road and campgrounds have been closed until further notice.

Further north, the Sand Fire in Amador County burned 3,800 acres and destroyed 13 homes. It is now 75 percent contained and most of the 1,200 evacuees were told Monday they could return home.

A private drone trying to record footage of the fire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames from the air Monday, state fire officials said. The man controlling the drone was told to stop it because of the potential danger to firefighting planes. He was not cited.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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