Fire At El Capitan

A horrific blaze at Yosemite reignites a heated debate: Should forest fires be extinguished or allowed to burn themselves out?

Flames danced from treetop to treetop, and a thick pall of acrid smoke descended on the valley. The majestic stands of giant sequoias were difficult to make out, and the monolithic granite landmarks -- El Capitan, Sentinel Rock and Half Dome -- were all but invisible. Perhaps the most beautiful and certainly among the most popular of national parks, California's Yosemite was shrouded in gloom last week as three major wildfires, triggered by lightning strikes the week before, swept through the pristine forest. Residents of nearby towns fled their homes, and for the first time in its 100-year history, Yosemite was...

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