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Predator drone now part of California wildfire battle

GROVELAND — As crews advanced against a giant wildfire around Yosemite National Park, fire commanders said they would maintain use of a Predator drone to give them early views of any new flare-ups across in the remote and rugged landscape.

Officials remained confident on Thursday about their efforts to corral the Rim Fire, which grew by a relatively modest few hundred acres overnight.

The fire had burned about 301 square miles as of Thursday morning and remained 30 percent contained. It has cost $39 million to fight.

"We remain very optimistic that our containment lines are holding, and we'll continue to strengthen lines around communities that are threatened around the fire," said California fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

Fire officials said they expect to fully surround the blaze in three weeks, although it will burn for much longer than that.


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