Evacuation Underway as Wildfire Engulfs Sierra Nevada Foothills

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Evacuation
Courtesy of FEMA (U.S. National Archives PDM)

The Oak Fire near Mariposa prompted the evacuation of more than 6,000 residences and businesses and has burned 24.4 square miles as of Sunday night. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) officials report the wildfire in the Sierra Nevada foothills destroyed 10 structures, and nearly 3,000 more were threatened.

The Mariposa Emergency Alert advisory:

This is a fast-moving fire. Please evacuate within the current evacuation zone immediately. If you feel unsafe, leave and seek safety.

Reports indicate the fire was discovered along California State Route 140 at Midpines on Friday at approximately 2:10 p.m. PDT. It consumed 1,745 acres within three hours, reports The Mercury News. The Oak Fire is near Yosemite National Park’s west edge. By Sunday night, the Oak Fire had grown to more than 15,600 acres, making it California’s largest this season. As a result, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared “a state of emergency for Mariposa County,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Evacuation
Courtesy of Colorado National Guard (DVIDS PDM)

Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office tweeted: Local militia members are in town. “The public should be aware the militia has been activated not been requested to act for any purpose by the Sheriff’s Office or any agency working [on] the Oak Fire.”

Micheal Steinberg retweeted the sheriff’s post with a reminder that during the Oregon fires, militia members stopped homeowners from entering their homes. They claimed to be stopping Antifa looters.

The presence of uninvited militia members whose supposed intent is to “help homeowners” could negatively affect safe and expedient evacuations.

Firefighters are dealing with temperatures in the mid-to-high 90s, single-digit humidity, and parched vegetation.

The current evacuation shelter is located at Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones Street, Mariposa. Small animals will be sheltered at the school and at the Mariposa SPCA on Highway 49 N. Large animals can be taken to either the Mariposa County Fairgrounds or the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Mariposa County: Oak Fire Incident
The Mercury News: Map: Oak Fire evacuations and perimeter near Yosemite
Los Angeles Times: Firefighters face punishing weather conditions in battle against raging fire near Yosemite; by Hannah Fry, Liam Dillon, and James Queally

Featured and Top Image by Andrea Booher for FEMA Courtesy of U.S. National Archives – Public Domain License
Inset Image by Colorado National Guard Courtesy of DVIDS – Public Domain License

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