A plane flies over the fire-stricken area near Mariposa, California.
Firefighters dramatically slowed the spread of a blaze burning near Yosemite National Park, California on Monday, but thousands of residents of mountainous communities were still under an order. evacuation.
Firefighters have made good progress dealing with the Oak Fire, according to the Cal Fire agency, which added that the flames were less extreme than x27;over the past few days.
More than 2,500 firefighters supported by air tankers are battling the flames that started Friday near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County, southwest of the park. The fire quickly spread through vegetation parched by the worst drought in decades.
The flames had incinerated 65 square kilometers of land, as of Sunday evening, and an investigation has been opened to try to elucidate the cause of the disaster.
A firefighter conducts a prescribed burn near Midpines Park, as the “Oak Fire” s gripped Mariposa, California.
50-foot-tall flames roared skyward near the small town of Jerseydale, as firefighters battled not only the fire, but also the difficult terrain, intense heat and low humidity.
Light winds blew embers, which spread the flames.
Some 6,000 residents could be evacuated from the area at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County.
At least ten residential and commercial structures were destroyed and five others damaged. Several roads were closed, including a portion of Highway 40 that leads to Yosemite Park.
More than 2,600 customers in the area were without power Monday.
Hundreds of firefighters were working Monday to water trees in the Mariposa Grove area of Yosemite.
Firefighters now have 87% control of the Washburn fire, which has been threatening Yosemite Park for two weeks and covers about twenty square kilometers.
California has seen bigger and deadlier wildfires in recent years, as global warming has made the West hotter and drier in the past 30 years. Scientists warn that weather events will continue to become more extreme and wildfires more destructive and unpredictable.