A wildfire raging near the Sierra Nevada foothills in California destroyed 10 structures overnight Friday and threatened another 2,000.
The so-called “Oak Fire” started around 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon in Midpines, Mariposa County, about 70 miles north of Fresno, and burned to 6,555 acres, or more than 10 square miles, overnight. state firefighting agency. By 11pm on Friday, the fire had covered a little more than 4,000 hectares.
CalFire said the “explosive nature” of the fire posed a challenge for the 400 firefighters and four helicopters deployed. As of Saturday morning, the fire was zero percent contained, the agency said in an update. CalFire spokeswoman Natasha Fouts said it was the fastest-growing fire of the season so far, outpacing the Washburn fire, which continues to burn about 10 miles away in Yosemite National Park.
Evacuations were ordered for the area several miles from the fire, and officials closed multiple roads. It is not known if the residents were injured. An American Red Cross station has opened at Mariposa Elementary School. In addition to the destroyed buildings, five more buildings were damaged.
Fire officials did not expect to contain the fire until next week, Ms. Fouts said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but a report released Friday night said vegetation in the area was “highly susceptible to new fires due to hot, dry weather and drought,” and that heavy fuel, strong winds and low humidity were also contributing to the fire’s behavior. All of Mariposa County is experiencing drought, and this is currently the driest year on record for the county, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System, a state agency.