Breaking News Blog

Monday, Jun 17 2013 08:35 PM

Evacuations ordered due to fire near road into Yosemite


MARIPOSA -- A wind-whipped wildfire near the main route into Yosemite National Park in the Sierra foothills forced the evacuation of at least 150 houses Monday and was threatening more, state fire officials said.

The blaze that began Sunday afternoon had burned about had burned about 21/2 square miles, or 1,600 acres, Monday night. It was 15 percent contained.

More than 700 firefighters, 140 engines and two helicopters were taking on the wildfire that's burning amid gusting winds in an area about six miles northeast of Mariposa off Highway 140.

"The strong winds and dry conditions have been major factors," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said. "The fire moved quickly."

CalFire said in a statement earlier Monday that about 150 homes were under evacuation orders. More areas were evacuated Monday night, but it wasn't clear how many homes or people were involved.

No structures have been burned, no injuries have been reported and the exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Berlant said.

Four stretches along the oft-used Triangle Road are currently closed. The Red Cross has also set up a shelter in Mariposa.

The Kern County Fire Department said it had sent crews and equipment to help battle the fire.

According to the department, the following were sent Monday:

* Rio Bravo Hotshot Crew

* Dozer 3

* Dozer 5

* Engine 326 (Lost Hills)

* Engine 35 (Woody)

* Engine345 (Edison)

* Engine 363 (North Oildale)

* Engine 371 (Southlake)

* 17 overhead positions

Meanwhile, a smaller fire near the Madera County city of Friant has burned 482 acres. The Rolling Hills fire is 80 percent contained.

In Southern California, a wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains north of Banning is now 67 percent contained after burning through nearly six square miles.

The fire started more than a week ago on the Morongo Indian Reservation, and it's burning in a remote area that is steep and difficult to access.

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