MARIPOSA, California — Hundreds of people were allowed to return home but hundreds more evacuees remained from a Northern California wildfire that began as a campfire before burning nearly 3 square miles.
Evacuations orders were lifted Tuesday night for about 700 people as firefighters chased down the blaze near a main route into Yosemite National Park, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said. Some 800 people remained under evacuation orders.
About 2,200 firefighters had the wildfire 40 percent contained as hot, dry conditions slowly grew more cool and humid.
The cause was a campfire that wasn't fully out before it was abandoned Sunday, CalFire spokeswoman Karen Guillemin said.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury, but no homes or buildings were damaged or destroyed, Guillemin said. Crews are clearing brush to create defensive space around homes, laying fire line and dropping retardant from the air.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter in Mariposa for evacuees.
State Route 140 into Yosemite National Park remains open. Tourists can see some smoke from the road itself, but it does not affect visitors in the park, said park spokesman Scott Gediman. The fire is burning about 35 miles west of the park's boundary, Gediman said.
"Visitors coming into the park are fine," he said. "We're not discouraging visits, just the opposite. If people have plans, there's absolutely no reason for them not to come."
Fire officials said fire danger is extreme in California this year, due to an especially dry spring. Already this year, more than 80 square miles have burned across the state. At this time last year, only about 30 square miles had burned. CalFire has responded to 2,600 fires so far in 2013, a 75 percent increase from 2012, officials said.
An estimated 94 percent of wildfires have human causes, Guillemin said.
"Humans need to stop and think fire prevention before they do anything outdoors, so they can help prevent fires," she said.