Wednesday 19 July 2017

The city of Mariposa placed under evacuation orders for it's 20,000 residents as the Detwiler Fire crept closer and continued to roar out of control

The city of Mariposa was placed under evacuation orders for it's 20,000 residents shortly after noon Tuesday as the Detwiler Fire crept closer and continued to roar out of control as it burned towards the town from Lake McClure.
The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office called all available units back to key parts of the main town area shortly before noon to prepare residents for evacuation.
Firefighters, however, faced difficulties obtaining resources throughout the day as Cal Fire and other agencies battled at least a dozen active blazes across the state.
At noon, evacuations were ordered along Highway 49 north from Agua Fria Road to Highway 140, in the center of Mariposa, along with all feeder roads.
At least nine hotels in that area were evacuated.
Joan Balarge was one of the first to experience the effects as ash rained from the sky.
When she arrived to Mariposa Shipping Company to ship a package, she saw the shop, and nearly all other businesses on Mariposa's main street, were already closed.
"It's so darn dry now, it's really terrifying," said Balarge, who lives between Mariposa and Oakhurst on Triangle Road.
"I've lived through these very recently and every time it's just scary.
I really hope they get this under control."
But only a few short hours later, evacuations had been ordered in the Ben Hur, Agua Fria, Mount Bullion, Guadalupe Mountain, and Yaqui Gulch areas of Mariposa County as the inferno continued to spread its uncontrolled wrath towards the southeast.
Highway 49 was closed north of Mariposa at the Highway 140 junction up to Highway 132 in Coulterville.
Highway 140 was closed from that point to nine miles east of the Mariposa/Merced county border. Additional closures along both highways were put in place in all affected evacuation areas, as well as any interior roadways.
By Tuesday afternoon, the fire had claimed 19,600 acres and was 5% contained as more than 780 firefighters worked to try and control the raging blaze.
Several power outages were reported, with at least one still in effect by 7:30 p.m. in the Bear Valley area directly east of Lake McClure. Power lines that serve Yosemite National Park were also affected. Early Tuesday morning, the fire was estimated to cover 15,500 acres.
In the latest update at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at least one structure was damaged, and another destroyed, but some Cal Fire officials estimated those numbers may rise.
The Red Cross moved an evacuation shelter from a Mariposa location to Caesar Chavez Junior High at 161 S. Plainsburg Road in Planada.
Two more shelters were set up in Oakhurst - at the Evangelical Free Church, 50443 School Road (427), and the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, 39696 Highway 41.