UNITED STATES: A raging fire, ravaging thousands of acres of forest land near Yosemite National Park, has compelled nearly 6,000 people to be urgently evacuated, challenging the firefighters working there to extinguish the flames.
The Oak Fire, as it is being deemed, began Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening, had reduced nearly 12,000 acres out of Yosemite into black ash, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire spokesperson Natasha Fouts mentioned that 6,062 people had been rescued from the area as of Saturday morning. It was also a huge impediment, threatening to destroy 2,000 structures including residential and commercial buildings, as of Saturday, Fouts added.
The wildfire has obliterated 10 structures and another 5 as of Saturday evening, according to the Department. None of it has been contained.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) declared an official state of emergency for Mariposa County on Saturday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also providing its expertise and manpower to support the firefighters, Newsom said.
Since the fire broke out, a dedicated team of firefighters has been working day and night in their efforts to evacuate local residents to safety. Firefighters are seeing “explosive fire behaviour”, meaning the wildfire has developed plumes of smoke and water that stretch above the fire.
“This fire, in particular, has had a really dangerous rate of spread,” Fouts said.
Mariposa County has witnessed several wildfires in the area in recent years, including the 2013 Rim Fire, which is among California’s 20 largest wildfires.
It’s peak fire season in California, a time of crisis threatened by raging forest fires that could begin any minute and take hours and even days to douse completely.
The fires emerge due to rising temperatures, and then contribute to further rise, becoming a part of a vicious cycle that threatens wildlife, including climate change.
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