California Gov. Declares Emergency Over Massive Wildfire Near Yosemite National Park

by Amy Myers

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a state of emergency in response to the fire that’s quickly spreading near Yosemite National Park.

On Friday, the Oak Fire began on Carstens Road near Highway 140 in the town of Midpines. Since then, the wildfire has reached over 14,000 acres and is still at 0% containment. On Saturday, the office of the governor gave notice of the new developments.

“Governor Gavin Newsom today proclaimed a state of emergency for Mariposa County due to the effects of the Oak Fire, which has destroyed homes, threatened critical infrastructure and forced the evacuation of more than three thousand residents,” the statement read. “Driven by hot, dry weather and drought conditions, the Oak Fire has burned more than 11,500 acres since it began burning yesterday.”

Along with the state of emergency notice, the governor also issued evacuation orders for roughly 6,000 residents. The flames have already claimed nearly a dozen residential and commercial buildings and threaten 2,000 more in its path.

As teams respond to the flames, hundreds of videos and photos have surfaced that demonstrate just how devastating the fire near Yosemite National Park is.

Cal Fire also offered an update of their own on Saturday, noting how difficult the job would be for responding crews.

“Fire activity is extreme,” Cal Fire shared. “Explosive fire behavior is challenging firefighters.”

The state has also shut down Highway 140 between Carstens Road and Allred Road which is a main roadway for Yosemite National Park.

Cal Fire Gives Fire Prevention Tips for Residents Near Yosemite National Park

Extreme heat and high winds will continue for the west coast, which means there may be more danger to come. As firefighters work to bring the fire near Yosemite National Park under control, it’s crucial for surrounding California residents to take the proper steps to prevent further damage to the state.

The cause of the Oak Fire is still under investigation, however, Cal Fire recently reminded residents near Yosemite National Park that most fires, roughly 95%, are a result of human activity. According to the organization, the usual culprits that spark the first flames tend to be yard equipment, campfires, vehicles and piles of debris.

“Use outdoor equipment before 10 am (never on hot/windy days), keep vehicle chains from dragging on the ground, & never leave a campfire unattended,” Cal Fire recommended on Twitter.

“Whether it’s ensuring a campfire or landscape debris burn of leaves and branches is completely extinguished, or keeping a vehicle well maintained to prevent sparks, following just a few simple steps can help prevent wildfires,” the organization continued.