California’s Oak Fire reaches 18,000 acres, state’s largest wildfire of 2022

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Nearly 3,000 responders are trying to contain the Oak Fire in Mariposa, Calif., near Yosemite National Park, which burned dozens of homes on Monday afternoon.

The blaze, which has covered more than 18,000 acres and is California’s largest blaze of the year, is fueled by “extreme drought” and “high tree mortality”. [and a] bark beetle infestation” in the surrounding area, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes, Natasha Fouts, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (or Cal Fire), told Jiovanni Lieggi from Fox News Digital.

The blaze on Monday destroyed 21 homes and 34 other buildings and is about 16% contained, the California Fire Department said. It continues to threaten more than 2,400 homes in nearby areas, Fouts added.

“It’s the first fire we’ve had this season that’s fast moving and destructive and we’re just getting started, so I like to tell people to hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” said Don’t care.

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Smoke from the fire could be seen from the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada.

“During this fire they were reporting spots from a long distance, almost up to 2 miles in front of the fire. With everything being so dry, high temperatures and low humidity, when embers land in front of the fire it creates spot fires because the fuels are so receptive,” she added.

The California Fire PIO also said the blaze moved into a populated neighborhood and the mix of homes and forests “presents challenges for firefighters” seeking to extinguish the flames. By Monday, the fire had consumed more than 27 square miles of forest.

“We put up lines of fire and we fight that fire from the air and the ground. You can’t just put out a fire with just air support, you have to have boots on the ground,” Fouts said.

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“It was a successful day for the planes and firefighters resulting in minimal fire growth. Helicopters dropped 300,000 gallons of water on the fire. Crews continue to build control lines and d ‘extinguish hot spots along existing lines,’ Cal Fire said in another statement. Monday evening.

The state is also experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades, making dried vegetation additional fuel for the raging flame.

She added: “The houses are not really close to each other, but you have what we call the wild urban interface where we have houses mixed in with the forest, which presents challenges for firefighters in terms of concerns the protection of the structure and makes evacuations difficult with narrow roads.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County on Saturday as thousands more people remain in the fire’s planned path.

Evacuations remain in place for more than 6,000 people living in the fire area.

Another California wildfire, the Anzar Fire, burning in San Benito County, is 90% contained.

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In Texas, a trio of fires have burned dozens of homes across the state.

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A fire in Balch Springs burned up to 20 homes, while the Chalk Mountain fire near Glen Rose destroyed 16 homes and the Possum Kingdom Lake fire destroyed five homes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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