After growing explosively in 2022 to become California’s largest wildfire ever, a blaze raging in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada was contained Sunday, with a dozen firefighters from Yosemite National Park. succeeded in defending communities miles away.
The Oak Fire, which was ignited Friday and spread quickly, has burned a total of 15,600 acres and may still threaten 3,300 homes and businesses. By Sunday night, 10 structures had been destroyed, and more than 3,000 residents had been ordered to evacuate.
Cal Fire, the state’s main firefighting agency, said in a statement Sunday night that firefighters were making “good progress” against the blaze and that protective measures by fire crews were saving the small communities of Lushmeadows and Mariposa Pines. Is.
“The fire continued to be active, but it slowed to moderate yesterday afternoon,” Cal Fire battalion chief Capt. Jon Hagee said by phone Monday morning. “But it still has the potential to grow, and we will continue to fight this fire aggressively.”
The fire closed a highway leading to Yosemite, which is still recovering from the Washburn fire. The fire started earlier this month and at one point threatened the park’s Mariposa grove of sequoias, some of the oldest trees in the world. The Washburn fire is now out.
As California plunged deeper into a second year of drought this spring, officials warned of a possible 2022 fire season in the state’s desolate landscape. But so far this year, the state has been able to avoid the kind of megafires it has experienced in years past.
At this time last year, the state was battling the Dixie Fire, which had burned nearly a million acres — 60 times the area of the Oak Fire — and crested the Sierra to burn the mountain range’s eastern slopes, which That is relatively rare. incident
The Oak fire is the largest wildfire in the state so far this year, besting the Washburn fire, which burned 4,900 acres, according to a Cal Fire assessment.
However, July is still early in the state’s traditional fire season, which lasts through the summer and fall, when the risk of wind-driven wildfires increases.
California’s forests always burn during the dry months. But rising temperatures and an abundance of fire-prone vegetation from climate change — including tens of millions of trees that were killed during the last drought a decade ago — have made the state’s forests especially vulnerable to fire. The state has 60% of its area. Classification The federal government is facing severe drought.