Raging Rim Fire Captured on Time-Lapse Video

Crane Flat Rim Fire smoke
Smoke from the Rim Fire as seen from a webcam perched at the Crane Flat Lookout on Aug. 29, 2013. (Image credit: USGS)

Firefighters often describe their foe as alive, a breathing beast. An amazing time-lapse video of smoke billowing from California's Rim Fire captures the ferocious force of the growing blaze.

Shot by the National Park Service from two different vantage points, the mesmerizing video tracks changes in smoke as the Rim Fire progresses. "The first part of this video is from the Crane Flat Helibase," the Park Service said in a note posted with the video. "The fire is currently burning in wilderness and is not immediately threatening visitors or employees. The second half of the video is from Glacier Point, showing Yosemite Valley, and how little the smoke from the fire has impacted the Valley," the note reads. However, several roads remain closed in and around the park. A full list is available at the National Park Service website. [Watch: Advancing Rim Fire Smoke Captured In Surreal Time-Lapse]

Though Half Dome and other famous rock formations remain in clear view, the flames have gobbled up tens of thousands of acres inside the western edge of Yosemite National Park.

The Rim Fire, which started Aug. 17, is finally slowing, officials said today (Aug. 29). The fire is 30 percent contained and has burned more than 300 square miles (775 square kilometers). Firefighters now expect the fire to burn for more than a month, with full containment predicted for Sept. 20. A total of 4,200 personnel are battling the blaze, including firefighters, hotshot crews, inmate crews and the military.

Smoke from the Rim Fire is blowing north toward Lake Tahoe and Reno, prompting emergency health warnings due to unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality in parts of Northern California and Nevada.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.