The big smudge in the southeast is the Detwiler Fire -- a big, spreading wildfire fueled by tall grasses and manzanita east of Lake McClure and now descending on the City of Mariposa, driving crowds of cabin and ranchette owners before it. Fire trucks from the Inland Empire are lined up along Yosemite Parkway.
The fire doubled in size, from 11,600 acres to 20,000 acres in 24 hours.
We hope for the safety of the firefighters, residents and wild and domestic animals caught in the path.
Governor declares state of emergency in Mariposa fire
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Tuesday as thousands of Mariposa residents evacuated their homes and businesses while the Detwiler fire raged out of control.
The fire neared 20,000 acres Tuesday afternoon as it devoured dry grass and dead trees and scaled the foothills. Cal Fire officials said the fire was spreading at a moderate pace, about 1 mile per hour. Still, firefighters struggled to fight the blaze, which was only 5 percent contained.
“It’s significantly larger than we expected,” said Jordan Motta, a Cal Fire public information officer assigned to the Detwiler fire.
The fire began Sunday in Hunters Valley near Lake McClure and has doubled in size each night since. Nearly 1,000 firefighters from across the state were fighting the flames as of Tuesday morning.
Red Cross moved its shelter at Mariposa Elementary School to two locations. The main shelter was being prepared at Cesar Chavez Junior High School in Planada, and a second was set up at the Evangelical Free church in Oakhurst.
Power in Yosemite Power was on and off all day Tuesday as the fire encroached on the park’s main source of power, which follows the Merced River through Mariposa to Merced. The park remained open. Visitors were advised to avoid Highway 140, which was closed from the fire, and to use Highway 41 and Highway 120 instead.
Visibility in the valley remained OK, said Scott Gediman, the park’s public information officer. Web cam images showed hazy views of Yosemite Falls and Half Dome.
Crews from Merced City Fire Department, Merced County Sheriff’s Office and more were assisting with the fire.
The fire command center was moved to Merced County Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon. Thousands of emergency crews and evacuees were expected to descend on the city, leaving Mariposa looking like a ghost town.
A community meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Mariposa County High School auditorium was canceled after the evacuation notice, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
My Mother Lode
Update: Detwiler Fire 19,600 Acres With More Evacuations Underway
Detwiler Fire Near Lake McClure
B.J. Hansen, Tori James and Tracey Petersen, MML News Team
Update at 12:48 p.m.: CAL Fire officials say the Detwiler Fire has reached 19,600 acres, still with just five percent containment. Several more evacuation orders are going on.
Update at 12:39: Even more evacuation orders are being issued by the Mariposa Sheriff’s Office due to the Detwiler Fire.
The latest are for residents living in the area of West Whitlock from Moser Road to Hwy 140. This includes the following roads: Foran; Penny Royal; Salamander; Grosjean; Alta Vista; Avaca Vale; Lakeview; Serpentine; Cory Pines; Goldmine; Placer Lane
Residents will need to use Highway 140 to Triangle Road when exiting the area.
Update at 12:30 p.m.: The town of Mariposa is among the evacuations that are now being ordered due to the Detwiler Fire.
Here is the latest from the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office with regard to evacuations: Highway 140 from East Whitlock to Highway 49 South (both sides of the road), including Mariposa; Highway 49 North from Agua Fria rd to Highway 140, including all feeder roads; Highway 140 from Mount Bullion Cut off Road to Yaqui Gulch Road, including all feeder roads; also Yaqui Gulch Road to Old Highway, including all feeder roads.
The Red Cross Shelter is located at the E V Free Church located at 50443 School House Road.
CAL Fire officials say fire activity continued to grow throughout the night due to ample fuel and steep terrain and that today firefighters expect unfavorable weather conditions and aggressive fire behavior.
Update at 8:24am: PG&E reports that nearly 900 customers near the Detwiler Fire are without electricity.
They include, but are not limited to, areas of Greeley Hill Road, Ernst Road, Hoitzel Road, Dogtown Road, Ponderosa Way, Jordan Creek Road, Buckhorn Fire Road, Wagner Ridge Road, Boneyard Road, Dexter Road, Valley Vista Road, Fiske Road, Schilling Road, Hornitos Valley Road, Highway 49, Bear Valley Road, Hunters Valley Road, Cotton Creek Road, Pendola Garden Road and Drunken Gulch Road.
It is unclear how long the power will be out, according to PG&E.
Original story posted at 7:55am: The Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County, near Lake McClure, is up to 15,500 acres this morning and there is five percent containment.
That’s the latest information following the morning briefing at base camp. Challenges that faced firefighters yesterday included unfavorable weather, ample fuel and steep terrain. 300 structures are still considered threatened and an evacuation center remains open at the Mariposa Elementary School. Tonight, there is a community meeting planned for 6pm at the Mariposa County High School at 5074 Old Highway North. In Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, drift smoke will continue to be an issue today.
CAL Fire notes that the communities of Hunters Valley, Bear Valley, and Hornitos continue to be threatened as the fire encroaches on culturally and historically sensitive areas. Traffic along HWY 41 & 49 will be impacted as a result of road closures on HWY 49 near the fire.
The fire also continues to threaten power lines to the south of the incident, which supply power to Yosemite National Park.
780 firefighters are currently assigned to the incident, 100 fire engines, 22 crews, nine airtankers, five helicopters, nine dozers and four water tenders.
Mandatory Evacuation orders per Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office:
Detwiler Rd- ALL Homes
Hunters Valley Rd- All Homes
Hunters Valley Access Rd- All Homes
Bear Valley Rd- Between Hunters Valley and Hunters Valley Access Rd (Both sides of Bear Valley Rd)
Cotton Creek Rd- All Homes
Bear Valley Rd from Cotton Creek Rd to Hwy 49N (Both Sides of the Road)
Bear Valley Rd from Cotton Creek to Exchequer Rd- (North Side of the Rd only
Hwy 49N- Mt. Ophir to Fremont Fort (Monument at the top of the Bagby Grade)- (Both Sides of the road)
Pendola Gardens to Old Toll Rd
Mount Bullion Ridge Road from HWY 49N to CYA Road
Old Toll Road between Corbett Creek Road and HWY 49N, including Corbett Creek Road
Mount Gains Road to No.9 Road including No.9 Road
HWY 49N from Mount Bullion Ridge Road (Fremont Fort) to old Toll Road
Pendola Garden Road from HWY 49N to Old Toll Road
(Exit via Old Toll Road only)
HWY 49N from Old Toll Road to Agua Fria Road
Area known as Mount Bullion
Mount Bullion Cut off Road and Agua Fria Road from HWY 49N to HWY 140
ADVISEMENT ONLY (not an evacuation order, simple advisement of fire in the area only)
Bear Valley Rd- All homes from Exchequer Rd to Hornitos Rd
Hornitos Town Area
All of CYA Road
Hwy 49N at Agua Fria
Agua Fria at Creek Crossing
Old Toll at Hornitos Rd
Hwy 49N at Hwy 132 (Coulterville)
Bear Valley Rd at Exchequer Rd
Mt. Gains at No.9 Rd
Click here to view a recap of the Detwiler Fire from yesterday.
Written by BJ Hansen.
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