A massive wildfire ripped through Mariposa County in California, threatening a historic mining town.
The fire was officially labeled the “Detwiler Fire.” Dramatic videos and photos emerged from the scene as 2,200 fire personnel battled the volatile blaze.
The Fresno Bee reported that the fire was traveling at a pace of 1 mile per hour as it moved toward the Gold Rush-era town of Mariposa.
Cal Fire – the official California fire protection agency – reported that the blaze had doubled overnight from July 18 to July 19. The fire first broke out on July 16 around 4 p.m. in Mariposa County near Lake McClure, Cal Fire reported.
By July 19, it had scorched 45,724 acres and was only 7% contained, Cal Fire said. One helicopter pilot captured helmet-cam video. By later that evening, though, its pace slowed, reaching 48,000 acres with 7% contained.
Other helicopters joined in the fight against the blaze.
The night before, the fire had only burned 25,000 acres and was 5% contained.
The fire had destroyed 8 buildings, damaged 1, and was threatening 1,500 more in Mariposa.
Here’s a closer look at the fire lines:
Cal Fire reported the location of the blaze as “Detwiler Rd and Hunters Valley Rd, 2 miles east of Lake McClure.”
ABC reported that 5,000 structures were imperiled by the blaze, the cause of which is not yet known.
Thousands of people were evacuated from The Town of Mariposa, a community with a historic main street cemented in the Californian mining era.
The fire was ominously close to Mariposa.
The fire was “burning in the rugged mountains outside Yosemite National Park,” according to ABC10.
Helicopters joined the effort to stop the blaze.
KCRA-TV reported that the entire Town of Mariposa was evacuated.
Shelters were set up in schools, churches, and community centers for people and animals.
People offered prayers on social media for the people of Mariposa.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the fire was “fueled by tall grass and overgrown shrubs that sprouted along the central Sierra Nevada foothills during the winter rains.”
That “rich fuel source” created a fire that, one fire official told The Times, “we haven’t seen in the last seven or eight years.”
Cal Fire labeled the fire “extreme” and “aggressive.”
The Times reported that the fire had reached just under a mile from Mariposa.