The Latest: Utah firefighter killed had extensive experience

Published 08-14-2018

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Latest on wildfires burning across the U.S. West (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

A Utah firefighter who died battling the largest recorded wildfire in California history leaves behind a wife and 6-year-old son.

City of Draper Mayor Troy Walker told reporters Tuesday that Matthew Burchett was a battalion chief who joined the Salt Lake City suburb's fire department in May after 20 years with another agency in the area. He says the 42-year-old had extensive experience battling wildfires.

Walker had no details about Burchett's death. Authorities say Burchett died Monday night at a hospital after being injured in the Mendocino Complex Fire north of San Francisco.

He was one of five firefighters the city sent to California in early August.

Fellow Battalion Chief Bart Vawdrey says Burchett had worked other large fires and was hired to oversee Draper's wildland firefighting efforts because of his experience. He says Burchett was a good man with a dry wit.

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8:45 a.m.

Yosemite National Park officials say tourists returning after a nearly three-week closure could still face smoky air from a wildfire.

Most of the park reopened Tuesday after flames burned in remote areas of Yosemite and left it shrouded in smoke during the height of tourist s

Fellow Battalion Chief Bart Vawdrey says Burchett had worked other large fires and was hired to oversee Draper's wildland firefighting efforts because of his experience. He says Burchett was a good man with a dry wit.

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8:45 a.m.

Yosemite National Park officials say tourists returning after a nearly three-week closure could still face smoky air from a wildfire.

Most of the park reopened Tuesday after flames burned in remote areas of Yosemite and left it shrouded in smoke during the height of tourist season.

Park officials say a major road from the south, Highway 41, and a popular park attraction known as Glacier Point will remain closed for likely at least another week for fire operations.

Despite the reopening, officials have warned that the air quality in Yosemite Valley has been poor and are recommending visitors reduce prolonged times outside or heavy exercise.

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12 a.m.

Most of Yosemite National Park is set to reopen after a 20-day closure that cost the s

8:45 a.m.

Yosemite National Park officials say tourists returning after a nearly three-week closure could still face smoky air from a wildfire.

Most of the park reopened Tuesday after flames burned in remote areas of Yosemite and left it shrouded in smoke during the height of tourist season.

Park officials say a major road from the south, Highway 41, and a popular park attraction known as Glacier Point will remain closed for likely at least another week for fire operations.

Despite the reopening, officials have warned that the air quality in Yosemite Valley has been poor and are recommending visitors reduce prolonged times outside or heavy exercise.

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12 a.m.

Most of Yosemite National Park is set to reopen after a 20-day closure that cost the surrounding communities an estimated $50 million in lost tourism dollars.

Yosemite Valley, which includes most of the park's major attractions, is set to reopen Tuesday but hotels and other businesses say it will likely be weeks before bookings return to normal levels.

The nearly three-week closure was the result of a nearby massive wildfire that has burned 150 square miles and killed two firefighters since it started July 13.

The blaze is one of several in California that in less than three weeks have destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed at least a dozen people. The latest fatality was a Utah firefighter killed Monday in a blaze north of San Francisco.

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