Firefighters Battle Detwiler Fire Near Yosemite in Massive Effort

Detwiler Fire near Yosemite firefighter (Josh Adelson / AFP / Getty)
Josh Adelson / AFP / Getty

The Detwiler fire near Yosemite National Park has destroyed about 60 homes and caused the evacuation of the historic gold mining towns of Mariposa and Coulterville.

The 6-day old, 125-mile-wide blaze, featuring high winds and intense heat, was only 10 percent contained at 6 a.m. on July 21. Huge amounts of dead trees killed by a combination of years of drought and infestation by bark beetle are fueling two-to-four-foot-high flames and flares up to 25 feet tall.

The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) reported that it has over 100 fire engines, 40 local government strike teams on the scene, and about 3,737 personnel now fighting the Detwiler Fire. OES is being supported by the Mariposa County Sheriff’s office, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the California Highway Patrol, the California National Guard, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Conservation Corps, and the American Red Cross. California counties and cities from as far away as San Luis Obispo are sending personnel and equipment.

The latest reports have the fire within a half mile of the town of Mariposa, which contains about 1,500 homes and many of the state’s most historic buildings, including an all-wood courthouse built in 1854 that is believed to be the oldest functioning courthouse west of the Rocky Mountains.

The wildfire came within 35 miles of Yosemite National Park and knocked out the area’s power transmission lines. But the threat to the park may be over, as the reports indicate the fire is moving south and away from the park.

The mymotherlode.com blog is reporting that the Red Cross has sent out notices requesting emergency donations of supplies to cover basic needs, including bottled water and other nonperishable items necessary for food preparation.

The Red Cross cannot take homemade items, but is in need of donated sealed food items that are not in glass containers. Energy bars and snacks in single-serving packaging are very appreciated. The relief effort also needs small toiletry items, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, disposable razor,s and shaving cream.

With about 17 fires statewide, Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency on July 16, allowing the deployment of state resources and 6,000 firefighters to battle the blazes.

There are about 30 major fires burning across the Western States.

The Tuolumne County Fair Grounds has been designated as the Evacuation Center for those impacted by the Detwiler Fire. Questions regarding evacuees and donations should be directed to 530-354-5986. People with questions about livestock, pets and other animals should call Tuolumne County Animal Control at 209-694-2730.

 

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