Air tanker crashes fighting Yosemite fire

An air tanker battling a fire burning in Yosemite National Park crashed Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The plane, a Grumman S2 Tracker, crashed about 4:30 p.m. near Arch Rock, said Ashley Mayer, a Yosemite spokeswoman.

It was not clear whether anyone was on the plane besides the pilot, but the Grumman S2 Tracker is usually flown with only a pilot aboard, said Alyssa √Smith, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. The pilot's status was not immediately known.

The Dog Rock Fire broke out on the west side of Yosemite on Tuesday afternoon, prompting road closures and evacuations as it quickly scorched more than 130 acres, officials said.

The fire was reported around 2:45 p.m. off El Portal Road — the continuation of Highway 140 that leads into Yosemite — between the park boundary and the Arch Rock entrance station.

About 50 people were evacuated from the community of Foresta, officials said, and El Portal Road between the park boundary and the junction with Big Oak Flat Road was closed to all traffic.

Visitors trying to get to Yosemite Valley can still take Wawona Road, which is an extension of Highway 41, or Big Oak Flat Road, an extension of Highway 120.