‘Oakfire’ threatens famed ancient sequoias in California’s Yosemite Park

Published by
Thomas John

Wildfire in California continues to spread at a high rate, it is called “oak fire” here. By Sunday evening, the fire had scorched 15,603 acres and is still “zero percent” extinguished, the California Fire Department said Sunday night.

Now the fire is moving towards Yosemite National Park and threatening the largest trees on earth – the ancient sequoias for which this reserve is famous.

The fire started on Friday and stopped about a kilometer from the city of Mariposa Pines. But unexpectedly for everyone, by Sunday, it had grown to the largest forest fire in the whole year.

Fire chief Justin Macomb told reporters he had never seen fire behave like this in his career. Crews, according to the fire service, were on the ground on time and are working intensively, but the fire has an “explosive” character and is not spreading as usual.

“The fire outflanked us very quickly. We didn’t even have time to do anything with the resources we had,” Macomb said.

atypical fire

Due to the fire, more than 6,000 people had to be urgently evacuated, 10 buildings were destroyed, more than three thousand buildings are under threat – both residential buildings and enterprises. A state of emergency has been declared in Mariposa County.

 

According to local authorities, a combination of drought, climate change and high temperatures – on Sunday the temperature in the county reached 38 degrees Celsius – as well as overgrown small vegetation, which contributes to the rapid spread of fire, caused such a large fire.

400 firefighters, four helicopters with tanks, bulldozers, as well as teams that work on the ground manually are involved in the fight against the fire.

Yosemite Park is located 15 kilometers from Mariposa Pines, it was already threatened by a forest fire in early July of this year, but then everything was put out in time.

The US Forest Service said it was taking emergency action to protect the trees, including removing small vegetation on the ground.

PHOTOGRAPHER,REUTERS

photo caption,“Oak fire” has already burned more than 15 thousand acres of land

California Fire Department spokeswoman Natasha Fots said the fire is unlikely to be contained until next week. However, it is also reported that the nature of the fire is gradually becoming less extreme, and firefighters are still making some progress.

According to the local edition of the LA Times, hotels in the area are literally crammed with residents who fled from the fire. One of the hotel owners told the newspaper that he even had to refuse a room for a fire brigade – there are no places at all, and it is increasingly difficult for people to find accommodation for the night.

PHOTOGRAPHER,GETTY IMAGES

photo caption,Firefighters say ‘oak fire’ is ‘explosive’ and behaves very atypically

High temperatures in Mariposa County are forecast to continue for several more days. The heatwave is now affecting much of the United States, with warnings in place in more than a dozen states.

Thomas John

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