California's fast-moving Oak Fire burns nearly 12,000 acres

TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – A wildfire raging for a second day Saturday in central California's Mariposa County outside Yosemite National Park has burned nearly 12,000 acres and forced evacuations of rural communities, fire officials said.

The fire, which had 0% containment as of Saturday evening, began Friday in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near the small community of Midpines, roughly a 9-mile drive northeast of the county seat, the town of Mariposa, state fire officials said, according to CNN. 

Flames tore through trees and sent thick smoke into the sky Friday, and in at least one rural area burned close to homes and parked vehicles, video from CNN affiliates KFSN and KGO showed.

"(Authorities) came by ... and told us everybody's got to go," Wes Detamore, a resident of the Mariposa Pines area, told KFSN Friday.

Electricity service in the area stopped at about 4 p.m. Friday, "and the fire has been coming towards us faster and faster," Detamore said.

The fire has destroyed at least 10 structures and damaged another five, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Saturday. The blaze is threatening 2,000 other structures, Cal Fire said.

It had burned 6,555 acres by Saturday morning, according to Cal Fire. Fire activity was extreme, and emergency personnel were working to evacuate people and protect buildings, the department said.

Eleven fire crews with more than 400 personnel, as well as 45 fire engines and four helicopters, have been assigned to fight the flames, Cal Fire said.

Evacuations have been ordered for certain areas of Mariposa County south and east of the fire, as shown in an online map. The evacuation zones did not include the town of Mariposa.

A Red Cross evacuation center has been established at an elementary school in Mariposa, Cal Fire said.

ZZ/PR

News Code 189401

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