A fast-spreading fire near Yosemite National Park has grown into one of California’s biggest wildfires of the year, prompting thousands of evacuations and slamming more than 2,000 homes and businesses. power cut off.
The Oak Fire began Friday afternoon southwest of the park near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County, and by Sunday morning had grown to 14,281 acres without containment, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire California, or Cal Fire. It broke out when the fireman make progress compared to the previous flame burned to the edge of a grove of giant Sequoias in the southernmost part of Yosemite Park.
Daniel Patterson, a spokesman for the Sierra National Forest, said evacuation orders went into effect Saturday for more than 6,000 people living on a stretch of several miles in a sparsely populated, rural area.
The Gavin Newsom government declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County on Saturday due to the effects of the Oak Fire.
More than 400 firefighters are battling the blaze, along with helicopters, other aircraft and bulldozers, facing extreme conditions including hot weather, low humidity and arid vegetation that causes damage. caused by the worst drought in decades, Patterson said.
“Explosive behavior is challenging firefighters,” Cal Fire said in a statement Saturday describing Oak Fire’s operation as “extreme with frequent runs, spot fires and bonfires. in groups.”
By Saturday morning, the fire had destroyed 10 residential and commercial structures, damaged five others and was threatening another 2,000 structures, Cal Fire said. The fire closed many roads, including the closure of Highway 140 between Carstens Road and Allred Road – blocking one of the main routes into Yosemite.
California has experienced more and more Wildfires are bigger and more deadly In recent years, climate change has caused the West to become much warmer and drier over the past 30 years. The weather will continue to get more extreme and wildfires more frequent, destructive and unpredictable, scientists say.
“The fire is moving quickly,” Patterson said. “This fire threw embers up to 2 miles forward yesterday,” Patterson said. “These are exceptional fire conditions.” The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Pacific Gas & Electric said on its website that more than 2,600 homes and businesses in the area were without power as of Friday afternoon and there was no indication when it would be restored. “PG&E was unable to access the affected device,” the utility said.
An elderly man without shoes trying to flee the blaze Friday crashed his sedan into a ditch in an enclosed area and was helped by firefighters. He was safely driven from the area and appeared to be uninjured. Several other residents were in their homes Friday night when the fire broke out nearby.
Meanwhile, firefighters have made significant progress in fighting a wildfire that started in Yosemite National Park and consumed the Sierra National Forest.
The Washburn Fire was 79% contained on Friday after burning about 7.5 square miles of forest. It is one of the largest fires of the year in California, along with the Lost Lake Fire in Riverside County that was completely extinguished in June with an area of 9 square miles.
The fire broke out on July 7 and forced the closure of Yosemite’s south entrance and the evacuation of the Wawona community as it burned at the edge of Mariposa Grove, home to hundreds of giant sequoias, the largest trees in the world by by volume.
Wawona Road is expected to reopen on Saturday, according to the park’s website.