GROVELAND — At Ike Bunney's dude ranch near the Sierra community of Tuolumne City, all creatures have been evacuated as firefighters brace for an intense battle to keep a wildfire raging north of Yosemite National Park out of mountain communities.
"We've already evacuated the horses," said Bunney, who was keeping an eye on his Slide Mountain Guest Ranch on Sunday. "I think they're worried about the fire sparking over these hills."
As fire leapfrogs across the vast, picturesque Sierra forests, moving from one treetop to the next, residents in the fire's path are moving animals and children to safety.
The fire has moved northeast away from Groveland, where smoke gave away to blue skies Sunday. But at Tuolumne City's Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne City, the slot machines were quiet as emergency workers took over nearly all of the resort's 148 hotel rooms.
"The casino is empty," said casino employee Jessie Dean, who left her four children at relatives' homes in the Central Valley. "Technically, the casino is open, but there's nobody there."