Fast-moving wildfire forces thousands to evacuate in California

Thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate after a fast-moving wildfire exploded to over 14,200 acres (57.5 square km) near the Yosemite National Park in California.

The wildfire, dubbed the Oak Fire, has destroyed at least 10 structures, damaged another five and was 0 per cent contained as of Sunday, Xinhua news agency quoted the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) as saying.

A further 3,271 structures, both homes and businesses, are presently under threat, it added.

Driven by hot, dry weather and drought conditions, the blaze erupted on July 22 in Mariposa County.

It has rapidly grown to be one of the largest wildfires in the state so far this year.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County due to the effects of the explosive fire.

More than 6,000 people have been evacuated as over 2,000 fire personnel are fighting to control the flames from ground and from air, reported KFSN-TV, a local TV station.

“The fire remained active through the night, moving towards the community of Jerseydale, Darrah, and Bootjack. Poor humidity recovery was observed overnight,” said Cal Fire in its update on Sunday night.

The agency pointed out that high tree mortality and dense fuels are throughout the fire area.

Officials urged the public to stay vigilant on current fire conditions.

Another explosive wildfire, the Washburn Fire, has burned over 4,850 acres (19.6 square km) to date with 79 per cent contained in over two weeks near Yosemite National Park.

The Washburn Fire has drawn national attention as hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze to protect some of the world’s oldest and largest trees in the park.

Much of the US is sweltering through a heat wave and heat advisory warnings are in effect in more than a dozen states.

Temperatures in Mariposa County hit 38 degrees Celsius on Sunday, and are expected to stay high for the next few days.

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