Evacuation orders lifted but California
wildfire rages on
Send a link to a friend
[July 22, 2017]
(Reuters) - Residents of a historic
gold-mining town in central California began returning home on Friday as
evacuation orders prompted by a massive wildfire were lifted, but some
1,500 structures remained threatened by the flames.
Around 2,000 residents of the town of Mariposa, in the foothills of the
Sierra Nevada mountains, fled their homes on Tuesday as the so-called
Detwiler Fire bore down on them.
The blaze, which has blackened more than 75,000 acres, destroyed 125
structures, 61 of them homes, according to the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection.
The Detwiler, one of dozens of major wildfires burning across the U.S.
West, was 25 percent contained as of Friday evening, Cal Fire said on
its tracking website.
"Even though the fire has grown in one area, there's containment in
other areas and those are safe for the owners to go back," Cal Fire
spokesman John Clingingsmith said.
A total of 5,000 residents in the small communities on the edge of the
Yosemite National Park have been evacuated since the fast-moving fire
broke out on Sunday, including the town of Coulterville.
"Except for (Wednesday), this fire doubled in size every day," Tim
Chavez, a state fire official said during the community meeting. "That
is really unusual for it to progress like that."
[to top of second column]
Charred grasslands remain after the Long Valley fire came through
the Fort Sage Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Bureau of Land Management
More than 3,800 firefighters, working in temperatures of 90 to 96
degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 36 Celsius), were battling the fire, Cal
Chavez blamed the fire's growth on spot fires, drought and grassy
vegetation. The area's rough topography made fighting the blaze
harder, he said.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Mariposa
County on Tuesday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A total of 44 large fires across 11 western states were burning on
Thursday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center's
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Gina Cherelus in New
York and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry King and
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.