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California forest fire burns out of control near Yosemite

Oak fire in Mariposa County, Calif.
Posted at 2:21 PM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-24 15:21:28-04

MIDPINES, Calif. (AP) — A destructive wildfire near Yosemite National Park burned out of control Sunday and has grown into one of California’s biggest blazes of the year, forcing thousands of residents to flee remote mountain communities.

Some 2,000 firefighters were battling the Oak Fire, along with aircraft and bulldozers, facing tough conditions that included steep terrain and spiking temperatures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

“Today the weather is expected to remain hot with minimum humidity between 5 and 10%, which will hamper firefighting efforts,” said a Sunday morning incident report.

The blaze erupted Friday southwest of the park near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County. Officials described “explosive fire behavior” on Saturday as flames made runs through bone-dry vegetation caused by the worst drought in decades.

By Sunday the blaze had consumed more than 22 square miles (56 square km) of forest land, with no containment, Cal Fire said. The cause was under investigation.