Yosemite Valley closes as crews battle blaze

LOS ANGELES (AP) – As smoke from a nearby wildfire pours into Yosemite Valley, Tom Lambert has had to tell tourists who booked his vacation home months in advance that they would have to defer their dream stays so firefighters could take protective measures against the growing blaze.

The valley, the scenic heart of Yosemite National Park, was closed at noon Wednesday. Park spokesman Scott Gediman says the exodus was orderly and visitors are understanding of the decision to close.

Lambert says his disappointed guests include a father-daughter duo who planned a graduation trip a year in advance. Another guest had to delay plans to climb Half Dome.

He says the closure is a financial blow to his rental business.

Heavy smoke from the 60-square-mile (155-square-kilometer) fire is hanging over the valley, which normally bustles with summer visitors.

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