Fire officials report that the deadly wildfire that has been in flames near Yosemite National Park's west end has doubled in size in just a single night.
According to officials, they had not determined the cause of the fire that started on Friday night. Evacuation orders were already issued for communities, as the blaze has forced the closure of a key route into the park.
About The Fire
The wildfire also killed California firefighter Braden Varney. Public Information Officer of California Department of Industrial Relations Frank Polizzi said that the 36-year-old heavy truck equipment operator was seriously injured when his bulldozer rolled over while he was operating to make a fire line.
CalFire Chief Nancy Koerperich said that his death will undeniably be devastating not only to his family members but those in the CalFire Unit who call him family as well.
Known as Ferguson Fire, the incident put around 7 square miles of dry brush along the steep and remote hillside of the park in flames. The blaze was mostly out of control, and to promote safety precaution in the area including Yosemite Valley, officials have shut off electricity.
Furthermore, guests of the Yosemite Cedar Lodge were also ordered to leave on Saturday when the flames went up the slopes and enveloped the air with thick smoke.
Spencer Arebalo, a front desk clerk and one of the few employees who chose to stay in the famous hotel inside the park, said that people cannot see anything anymore because of how smoky it is outside. Arebalo added that seeing the property empty especially on the height of tourist season is unreal.
People who are staying in nearby lodges and motels were told to be ready to leave should the flames reach their area. A portion of State Route 140 into Yosemite was also closed. Drivers and motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes.
The inaccessible terrain and the scorching 203 Fahrenheit temperature has made it hard for the crew to get rid of the flames, said Mike Seymour, U.S. Forest Service Fire Captain.
Other Wildfire Cases
The Ferguson Fire in the well-known park is just one of the wildfires burning in the state and among the 56 large fires that are active in the country, mostly in the American West, an area that is known to have intense drought and heat.
A blaze, which happened close to the California-Oregon border even killed a 72-year-old resident and hurt three firefighters, was almost completely controlled after blazing through over 60 square miles of dry brush.