‘Explosive’ Oak Fire outside Yosemite prompts mandatory evacuations

‘Explosive’ Oak Fire outside Yosemite prompts mandatory evacuations

Published July 24, 2022
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WAWONA, Calif. (AP) — A fast-moving wildfire near Yosemite National Park exploded in size Saturday and prompted evacuations even as firefighters made progress against an earlier blaze that burned to the edge of a grove of giant sequoias.

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.

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

As of Saturday morning, the fire had destroyed 10 residential and commercial structures and damaged five more, the Mercury News reported. The fast-growing blaze prompted Caltrans to order numerous road closures, including a shutdown of Highway 140 between Carstens Road and Allred Road — blocking one of the main routes into Yosemite National Park.