Mariposa Fire Burns 900 Acres, Forces Evacuations Near Yosemite

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:12 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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A wildfire that started Monday afternoon in Mariposa County, California, west of Yosemite National Park, has burned more than 900 acres and is threatening more than 100 homes.

Authorities said the fire was 10 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, The Los Angeles Times reported. Evacuation orders were given to residents along rural roads in the Hunters Valley area 11:30 p.m.

The American Red Cross set up an evacuation center while the county opened a rescue center for pets.

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"This fire is burning just near the southeast shore of Lake McClure," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Daniel Berlant told KGO-AM. "That's east of Modesto and west of Yosemite National Park. It is in proximity of the park but it is not threatening the park."

Firefighters struggled to put out hot spots and establish containment lines in steep, rough terrain.

U.S. Forest Service personnel and more than a dozen central California firefighting agencies joined in the effort to try to contain the blaze, Berlant told the radio station.

"This is definitely a fire that's showing us just how dry conditions are across California," Berlant said. "With these drought conditions, the grass, the brush — it's able to burn like it was late summer."

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, said Tuesday that nearly 500 firefighters remained on the scene along with 39 fire engines, nine airtankers, and four helicopters.

Cal Fire has responded to more than 1,500 wildfires this year, according to the LA Times, nearly double the department's five-year average over the same time of year.

Two weeks ago, wildfires forced thousands to leave their homes in the San Diego area. Temperatures in the 90s and strong Santa Ana made the blazes more difficult for firefighters to handle.

At least eight homes, an apartment building, and two businesses in Carlsbad burned to the ground because of the wildfire.

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