Firefighters slow growth of vast Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park
▶ Watch Video: Favorable weather conditions help crews battling 17,000-acre Oak Fire
Firefighters continued to make progress Monday on containing the Oak Fire burning near Yosemite National Park, limiting its growth to just a few hundred acres, CBS San Francisco reports.
As of Monday evening local time, Cal Fire said the wildfire was 16% contained and had burned 17,241 acres, only 450 more acres than reported Monday morning. It’s California’s largest wildfire this year.
Helicopters dropped 300,000 gallons of water on the flames as crews continued to strengthen control lines and extinguish hot spots along the perimeter of the fire as it moved in northeast.
Fire officials said at least 21 homes and 34 other structures have been destroyed.
Thousands of residents remain under evacuation orders, though some of those orders were reduced to advisories.
Cal Fire officials were also projecting that the fire would be contained by July 30th. Additional information is available on the Cal Fire incident page.
The Oak Fire began Friday afternoon near the Sierra foothills community of Midpines in Mariposa County. It was burning about 15 miles west of the Washburn Fire in Yosemite, which as of Monday had consumed some 4,900 acres and was 87% contained.
Cal Fire damage inspection teams began surveying the Oak Fire burn areas Monday.
Among the structures burned was the home of newlyweds Steve and Andrea Ward. They learned they’d lost their home after seeing it burning on the news.
“She’s looking over my shoulder and this home that we had just got married at two weeks ago, it explodes and you’re looking at it on a mobile phone,” said Steve Ward.
Some 2,000 firefighters have been working in steep terrain and triple-digit temperatures while battling the Oak Fire, including crews from Alameda and Sonoma counties.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County Saturday citing “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property.”
In recent years, California and other parts of the West have been ravaged by huge and fast-moving wildfires, driven by years of drought and a warming climate.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Monday extended an air quality advisory through Wednesday, saying smoke from the Oak Fire will drift into Bay Area skies over the next few days.
The northeastern fire perimeter was moving into the Ferguson Fire burn scar, Cal Fire said Monday. The 2018 wildfire chewed up nearly 100,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. Two firefighters were killed and 19 others were injured battling that blaze.
On Sunday, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning against looters and fraudsters seeking to take advantage of people displaced by the fire.