UNITED STATES NEWS

Fire near Yosemite forces thousands to flee California

Jul 23, 2022, 6:00 PM

WAWONA, Calif. (AP) — A fast-moving brush fire near Yosemite National Park exploded in size Saturday into one of California’s largest wildfires of the year, prompting evacuation orders for thousands of people and shutting off power to more than 2,000 homes and businesses.

The Oak Fire, which began Friday afternoon southwest of the park near Midpines in Mariposa County, grew to 10.2 square miles (26.5 square kilometers) by Saturday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. It erupted as firefighters made progress against an earlier blaze that burned to the edge of a grove of giant sequoias in the southernmost part of Yosemite park.

Evacuation orders were put in effect Saturday for over 6,000 people living in the sparsely populated, rural area, said Daniel Patterson, a spokesman for the Sierra National Forest.

“Explosive fire behavior is challenging firefighters,” Cal Fire said in a statement Saturday morning that described the Oak Fire’s activity as “extreme with frequent runs, spot fires and group torching.”

By Saturday morning, the fire had destroyed 10 residential and commercial structures, damaged five more and was threatening 2,000 more structures, Cal Fire said. The fast-growing blaze prompted numerous road closures, including a shutdown of Highway 140 between Carstens Road and Allred Road — blocking one of the main routes into Yosemite.

More than 400 firefighters, along with helicopters, other aircraft and bulldozers, battled the blaze, which was in a sparsely populated, mostly rural area of the Sierra Nevada foothills, said Daniel Patterson, a spokesman for the Sierra National Forest.

Hot weather, low humidity and bone dry vegetation caused by the worst drought in decades was fueling the blaze and challenging fire crews, Patterson said.

“The fire is moving quickly. This fire was throwing embers out in front of itself for up to 2 miles yesterday,” Patterson said. “These are exceptional fire conditions.”

Pacific Gas & Electric said on its website that more than 2,600 homes and businesses in the area had lost power as of Friday afternoon and there was no indication when it would be restored. “PG&E is unable to access the affected equipment,” the utility said.

A shoeless older man attempting to flee the blaze on Friday crashed his sedan into a ditch in a closed area and was helped by firefighters. He was safely driven from the area and did not appear to suffer any injuries. Several other residents stayed in their homes Friday night as the fire continued to burn nearby.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, Cal Fire said.

Meanwhile, firefighters have made significant progress against a wildfire that began in Yosemite National Park and burned into the Sierra National Forest.

The Washburn Fire was 79% contained Friday after burning about 7.5 square miles (19.4 square kilometers) of forest.

The fire broke out July 7 and forced the closure of the southern entrance to Yosemite and evacuation of the community of Wawona as it burned on the edge of Mariposa Grove, home to hundreds of giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees by volume.

Wawona Road is tentatively set to reopen on Saturday, according to the park website.

United States News

Associated Press

Latest deadly weather in US kills at least 18 as storms carve path of ruin across multiple states

VALLEY VIEW, Texas (AP) — Powerful storms killed at least 18 people, injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S. The storms inflicted their […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares mostly higher after rebound on Wall St

Asian shares were mostly higher on Monday after U.S. stocks bounced back from Wall Street’s worst day since April to finish higher for the week. U.S. futures slipped while oil prices advanced. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to 38,758.96 and the Kospi in Seoul jumped 0.7% to 2,705.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 0.7% to 2,705.87 […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Lightning strike kills Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle

DENVER (AP) — A lightning strike killed a Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle over the weekend, officials said Sunday. Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding his cattle from a trailer when he was struck and died on the scene despite life-saving efforts, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said. The lightning bolt struck on wide […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Former ‘General Hospital’ actor Johnny Wactor killed in downtown Los Angeles shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former “General Hospital” actor Johnny Wactor was shot and killed when he interrupted thieves stealing the catalytic converter from his car in Los Angeles, his family said Sunday. The shooting occurred around 3 a.m. Saturday when the victim approached three men in downtown LA, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. […]

6 hours ago

Michael Cohen leaves his apartment building on his way to Manhattan criminal court to testify in Do...

Associated Press

Here’s what every key witness said at Donald Trump’s hush money trial

Testimony is over at Trump’s criminal trial featuring 22 witnesses, including a porn actor, tabloid publisher and White House insiders.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Christian group temporarily opens beaches it has closed on Sunday mornings as court fight plays out

OCEAN GROVE, N.J. (AP) — For the first time in generations, beachgoers were out on the sand in a New Jersey shore community on the Sunday morning before Memorial Day as a Christian religious group fights the state over its regular beach closures there during Sunday services. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Fire near Yosemite forces thousands to flee California