California wildfire explodes to 45,000 acres; thousands evacuated

Source: UPI

July 19 (UPI) — A Central California wildfire has doubled in size — to more than 45,000 acres — and still barely has any containment, fire officials said Wednesday.

The Detwiler Fire, burning in Mariposa County, has destroyed tens of thousands of acres, several structures and forced the evacuations of thousands of residents.

Roads were closed in the area to accommodate 2,200 firefighters and their equipment, officials said.

Eight structures have been destroyed so far and thousands more are threatened.

A state of emergency in the county was declared by Gov. Jerry Brown, and fire agency Cal Fire said the communities of Hunters Valley, Bear Valley, Catheys Valley, Mormon Bar, Mount Bullion, Yaqui Gulch/Aqua Fria areas, Hornitos and the town of Mariposa — whose population of 2,700 has left — were under threat.

Cal Fire added that the fire, which started Sunday, is approaching “culturally and historically sensitive areas.”

Officials added that the blaze is also threatening to damage power lines that supply electricity to Yosemite National Park, 50 miles away,.

Fighting the fire is being hampered by high winds and hot temperatures, officials said, which climbed into the 90s on Wednesday.

Heavy rain earlier this year led to the quick growth of foliage throughout California. High temperatures then dried the grass and shrubbery, leading to dry conditions suitable for fires.

Other wildfires have been reported in a dozen counties in the state.


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