Thousands evacuated, multiple homes destroyed as massive wildfire near Yosemite DOUBLES in size
A fast-moving brush fire near Yosemite National Park doubled in size in a day, making it one of California's largest wildfires of the year. The wildfire started Friday afternoon, July 22, southwest of the park near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County. By Saturday, July 23, it had grown to nearly 19 square miles, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed.
Firefighters have warned that it is still zero per cent contained. By Saturday afternoon, the Oak Fire had destroyed at least 6,555 acres of land. Over 6,000 people had to be evacuated and at least 10 homes have been destroyed. At least five more structures have reportedly been damaged. There are no reports of injuries yet.
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"The fire is moving quickly. This fire was throwing embers out in front of itself for up to two miles yesterday," Daniel Patterson, a spokesman for the Sierra National Forest, said, according to the Daily Mail. "These are exceptional fire conditions." The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Out-Of-Control California Wildfires Forces Residents To Evacuate— Zahra (@Zahrah922) July 23, 2022
Blazes are burning close to Yosemite National Park & are covering an area larger than 600 hectares.
At least 12 residential buildings have burned down🥺#RTNews pic.twitter.com/ApBRZHk2oz
Evacuation orders were put in effect on Saturday, a day after the fire started. Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Mariposa County the same day. Over 400 firefighters were tackling the fire, along with helicopters, other aircraft and bulldozers. "They have been battling tough conditions including hot weather, low humidity and bone-dry vegetation caused droughts," Patterson said. “Explosive fire behavior is challenging firefighters,” Cal Fire said in a statement on Saturday, describing Oak Fire's activity as “extreme with frequent runs, spot fires and group torching.”
Back to the future...— Atiqueteimporta (@Atiquetimporta7) July 23, 2022
I think we've seen this movie too many times already... #OAKFire #MariposaCounty #californiawildfires pic.twitter.com/iUw1fn8AFO
Pacific Gas & Electric reportedly confirmed that over 2,600 homes and businesses had lost power as of Friday afternoon, according to ABC News. An elderly man trying to escape the blaze crashed his sedan into a ditch in a closed area, following which firefighters came to his rescue and drove him to safety. He did not sustain any injuries.
This wildfire comes a couple of months after wind and terrain-driven fire that broke out near Laguna Niguel rapidly grew to 200 acres in windy and dry conditions, burning about 20 homes. People from nearby residences and a luxury resort had to be evacuated. Orange County Sheriff’s Capt Virgil Asuncion said that about 100 homes were potentially in the path of the Coastal fire, which occured in May this year.
In December 2021, town had to evacuate entirely as wildfires in Colorado spread rapidly across communities in Boulder County. The Boulder County sheriff’s office said they had received “multiple reports of power lines down, transformers blowing, etc.” “This has caused several small grass fires from the downed/sparking lines,” the statement added. At least 28,000 customers in the Denver Metro area faced a loss of power due to the fires.