A raging wildfire near Yosemite National Park ripped through nearly 20 square miles of land in just over a day — forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, officials said Sunday.
The fast-moving Oak Fire, just southwest of the national wilderness treasure in Midpines, had torn through 2.5 square miles of land by Friday night — and spread to 22.3 square miles by Sunday morning, according to Mariposa County fire officials.
“The fire is moving quickly. This fire was throwing embers out in front of itself for up to two miles yesterday,” Sierra National Forest spokesperson Daniel Patterson said, according to SF Gate. “These are exceptional fire conditions.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County on Saturday due to the effects of the Oak Fire.
As of noon on Sunday, the explosive blaze was 0% contained, and was moving west towards the cities of Jerseydale, Darrah and Bootjack, SF Gate reported.
More than 400 firefighters were battling the inferno, and bulldozers, helicopters and other aircraft were being used in the efforts, Patterson said.
Stunning photos show firefighters scrambling to quell a sky-high blaze as it engulfs a tall tree near a powerline, filling the sky with plumes of smoke and an ominous orange hue.
As of Sunday, more than 6,000 people were ordered evacuated from area, 10 structures had been destroyed and five damaged, according to Cal Fire officials.
California has been hit with increasingly bigger and deadlier wildfires in recent years as climate change dries out much of the state, creating quick-moving, destructive and unpredictable blazes.
With Post wires