TODAY   |  August 28, 2013

‘Rim Fire’ one of biggest in Calif. history

The blaze called the “Rim Fire,” now 20 percent contained thanks to the efforts of more than 4,000 firefighters, is quickly becoming one of the largest wildfires in California history. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> this continues but we do have updates. that massive wildfire near yosemite national park is now one of the largest wildfires on record in california. nbc's miguel almaguer is there with the latest. miguel, good morning.

>>> good morning. this is where some of the more than 4,000 firefighters sleep after a long shift. they sleep in the open, on cots or in their riggs. it's 20% contained because of their work around the clock.

>> reporter: before sunrise at base camp outside yosemite national park , a briefing and prep talk. the chef knows his team faces a monster.

>> we have to let them joke a little bit, otherwise they would be crying and curled up in a ball.

>> reporter: crews cleared dry fuel before the wildfire can reach it. the trees and brunch haven't burned or been cleared here in decades, that's the problem.

>> if congress had provided enough funds to do fuel work and prescribed burning, the devastation of hot fire runs could have been greatly reduced.

>> reporter: with with 287 square miles destroyed, it's from the air where the scope of this fire is realized.

>> all along the ridges we can see more spot fires. there's no doubt this fire is growing and certainly quickly on the move.

>> reporter: the view from 10,000 feet, jaw dropping. the arial assault the only tactical option out here.

>> there it is goes. doing what it can to stop the advance of the flame.

>> reporter: in the air, on the ground, day and night , the fire fight outside yosemite is nearly two weeks old with no end in site.

>> wow. there's no other way to describe it.

>> though there has been steady progress on the flanks of the fire it still threatened 4500 homes. 31 homes have been destroyed.