Raging into its fifth day on Friday, the Detwiler fire near Yosemite temporarily forced the evacuation of the entire town of Mariposa, a Gold Rush-gem where residents are coming to grips with a blaze that has now destroyed almost 60 homes with is threatening another 1,500 structures.
As of Friday morning at daybreak, the fire had charred 74,083 acres and was just 15 percent contained. The 12-acre fire near Auburn did not damage any homes.
Evacuation orders for the town of Mariposa were lifted today at 11 a.m. but residents are urged to be cautious as there will still be smoke in the respective areas as firefighters continue firefighting.
The fire did not grow as significantly Thursday as it had earlier in the week, but state fire officials revealed late in the day that 99 structures have now been destroyed, 50 of them homes. "This fire has really devastated the area, business is just flat". The fire is only 10 percent contained; the cause is under investigation.
Firefighters were battling 17 blazes across California.
Dewey, 64, said that in recent years, about 30 new shops and wine bars have opened, attracting lots of young tourists but the fire has emptied the place.
About 4,000 people have been evacuated under a state of emergency issued by California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, including the entire city of Mariposa, a few miles west of the park, 440 km north to Los Angeles. Highway 140 east of Mariposa to Yosemite National Park was reopened. The park remained open to visitors on Thursday.
Yosemite does not appear at risk from the fire, which was moving south, away from the park, Motta said. But that has increased the challenge for crews battling flames feeding on dense vegetation.
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