Wildfire forces evacuation of 2,000 from California town
iStock/Thinkstock(MARIPOSA, Calif.) — An entire California town was evacuated on Tuesday evening due to a 25,000-acre wildfire that had already destroyed eight structures, officials said.
California fire officials issued an evacuation order for the town of Mariposa, which has a population of about 2,000, on Tuesday as the wildfire threatened to burn some 1,500 homes and structures, according to fire officials.
The wildfire, dubbed the Detwiler Fire by authorities, ignited on Sunday. It was 5 percent contained as of late Tuesday evening, according to fire officials.
Officials said the fire also threatens to damage power lines that feed to the Yosemite National Park, located in the state’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County on Tuesday due to the fire, which he said had damaged power, water and communication infrastructure and forced the closure of major highways and local roads in the area.
“I don’t think we can emphasize enough how erratic and active this fire activity is — especially with this fire,” Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Binnewies told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV on Tuesday. “It’s done stuff that we’ve never seen before.”
More than 1,400 fire personnel from multiple agencies were dispatched to fight the “extreme and aggressive fire” via air and ground but the battle was complicated by severe temperatures and humidity, fire officials said.
“When you add the challenge that we’re in the foothills — when you add the slopes and grades and the temperatures we’re dealing with, the humidity we’re dealing with — it’s a full on the challenge,” Cal Fire public information officer Isaac Sanchez told KFSN.
Officials said the fire threatened several communities surrounding Mariposa, located about 160 miles east of San Francisco, as well as some “culturally and historically sensitive areas.”
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