A Massive Wildfire Near Yosemite National Park Prompts the Evacuation of Thousands of People!

A brush fire that started quickly near Yosemite National Park has grown into one of California’s biggest wildfires of the year, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes and cutting power to more than 2,000 homes and businesses.

The Oak Fire started Friday afternoon southwest of the park near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County. By Sunday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the fire had spread to 14,281 acres and could not be stopped. It started as firefighters were making progress against an earlier fire that had burned to the edge of a grove of giant sequoia trees in the southernmost part of Yosemite Park.

A spokesman for the Sierra National Forest, Daniel Patterson, said that orders to evacuate were given Saturday to more than 6,000 people living in a rural area that is only a few miles long.

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On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that Mariposa County was in a state of emergency because of the Oak Fire.

More than 400 firefighters were battling the blaze, along with helicopters, other aircraft, and bulldozers, facing tough conditions that included hot weather, low humidity, and bone-dry vegetation caused by the worst drought in decades, Patterson said.

Yosemite National Park

Friday, 79 percent of the Washburn Fire had been put out. It had burned about 7.5 square miles of forest. It was one of the biggest fires in California that year, along with the 9-square-mile Lost Lake Fire in Riverside County that was put out in June.

The fire started on July 7 and forced the closure of the southern entrance to Yosemite and the evacuation of the town of Wawona because it was near Mariposa Grove, which is home to hundreds of giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees by volume.

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