Central California Wildfire Burns Out Of
Control, Threatens 100 Homes
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[May 28, 2014]
By Madeleine Thomas
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A wildfire
burning west of Yosemite National Park in central California threatened
more than 100 homes on Tuesday as it raged out of control in brush left
bone dry by severe drought, state fire officials said.
Californiaís fire season has been particularly severe this year,
with one of the worst droughts in the stateís history playing a key
role in the size and number of wildfire outbreaks.
The blaze that erupted on Monday afternoon has already charred more
than 1,300 acres (526 hectares) and was burning on the southeastern
shores of Lake McClure in Mariposa County, according to the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Five firefighters have been injured battling the blaze, including
one who suffered serious lacerations in a chainsaw accident, said
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.
That firefighter was taken to hospital, Berlant said, but his
condition was not known. Injuries to the other four were minor, he
More than 100 homes were ordered evacuated ahead of the flames,
which were only 20 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, Berlant
More than 670 firefighters were working to contain the blaze,
including crews from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau
of Land Management and dozens of local fire aids.
Six air tankers and several helicopters have been brought in to
fight the fire from the air, besides crews on the ground building
containment lines and putting out hot spots, Berlant said.
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Since Jan. 1, Cal Fire has responded to more than 1,500 wildfires,
nearly double its five-year average over the same period. The
department has hired additional seasonal firefighters across the
state and bolstered fire gear earlier in the season than usual.
"The fire is still under investigation so we havenít determined
exactly what sparked it, but the drought is affecting how quickly
itís been able to grow,Ē Berlant said.
"These are conditions we would typically see in the summertime
because the grass and the brush are just so dry. We are making
progress despite how dry and fast moving this fire is."
(Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Dan Whitcomb,
Steve Orlofsky and Clarence Fernandez)
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