Raging wildfire in California spreads rapidly, forces thousands from homes

The Detwiler Fire approaches the Mariposa Tuesday

View Slideshow The Detwiler Fire approaches the Mariposa Tuesday Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Named for Detwiler Road in a region two miles east of Lake McClure, the fire has taken out 58 residences, 60 minor structures and damaged 11 homes and another six minor structures.

Officials said the fire was 15 percent contained after almost $11 million was spent to battle the blaze.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday the fire grew slightly overnight to 115 square miles (298 square kilometers) and threatens at least 1,500 homes.

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Cal Fire Incident Management Team 4, the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, and additional cooperating agencies on the Detwiler Fire will be hosting a community meeting in Mariposa tonight, July 22, at 7 p.m.at the Mariposa County High School Auditorium, 5074 Old Highway N in Mariposa. "Power lines supplying power to Yosemite National Park continue to be threatened".

Currently, there are more than 3,100 firefighting personnel on the Mariposa County blaze.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. "This fire has really devastated the area, business is just flat".

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The fire was 15 per cent contained. Officials said the fire was burning in an area littered with dead trees, killed by bark beetles and years of drought.

They say the fire has also come within 56 kilometers of Yosemite, and officials have warned campers with respiratory problems there to be aware of the smoky haze creeping into the park.

About 50 Yosemite National Park employees, however, have been displaced because of the blaze, said Yosemite spokeswoman Jamie Richards. The situation has reached a level of such concern that Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, lending understanding to the seriousness of this crisis. But that has increased the challenge for crews battling flames feeding on dense vegetation.

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