Fire in Yosemite National Park Forces Small Town to Evacuate

A firefighter sprays down flames as the Detwiler fire rages on near the town of Mariposa, California on July 18, 2017.
California has suffered widespread fires in recent days, with a lighting strike near Yosemite National Park sparking a blaze that destroyed more than 26 square kilometers (10 square miles) of forest.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities have issued an evacuation order for the small town of Wawona as a week-old fire in Yosemite National Park grows and air quality in the area reaches a hazardous level.

The U.S. Forest Service says the fire grew to 2,903 acres, or 4 ½ square miles, overnight due to winds from thunderstorms. Local authorities ordered those in Wawona to evacuate by 4 p.m. Saturday as air quality is expected to worsen.

The town, which has a population of 1,000 to 2,000 at any given time, is about 1 ½ miles from the fire. The evacuation order includes the historic Big Trees Lodge, formerly known as the Wawona Hotel.

The fire has closed campgrounds and trails in the park since it began last Sunday. It’s 10 percent contained.

SOURCE: The Associated Press