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SAN FRANCISCO — A fire on the western side of Yosemite National Park expanded to 3,545 acres Tuesday, threatening a grove of giant sequoia trees and limiting access to the park.

Firefighters working in 100-degree weather made progress containing the fire, which was burning through chaparral, grass and timber. Some 34% of the perimeter was contained, and residents of the town of El Portal were allowed to return to their homes.

The fire was temporarily cutting off some access points to the park, a big tourist draw during the summer, closing Big Oak Flat Road and parts of Highway 120. Three campgrounds were also closed. Within the park, the Merced Grove of giant sequoia — the huge, ancient trees closely related to redwoods — was threatened, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

An extreme drought in 80% of California has made the state vulnerable to a worse-than-usual wildfire season this year. So far, however, the biggest and most destructive fires have occurred in the Pacific Northwest, where Washington state experienced its biggest-ever wildfire and Oregon's Buzzard Complex became the largest in the nation.

Over the past week, smaller fires have started to flare in California, a foreshadowing of what could come as the state hits the peak wildfire months of September and October.

In the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento, fire crews found the Sand Fire had destroyed six more homes, bringing the total to 19 homes and 47 other structures. The fire was 85% contained, though the burn area had expanded to 4,240 acres.

Farther north, near Chico, a blaze called the Web Fire that started Monday in Butte County had reached 325 acres and was 35% contained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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