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More than 16,000 acres have burned as firefighters in Northern California continue to battle the Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park.
The number of personnel assigned to fight the blaze jumped from 403 to 2,093 in the past 24 hours as the fire has become one of the state’s largest.
“Any spots that are flying, if they do, land into the fuels. Those fuels are so receptive and that’s what’s causing this fire to grow so, so rapidly and giving us such a hard fight,” said Natasha Fouts, a Cal Fire spokesperson, Fox San Francisco reported.
Evacuation orders were given and could be pushed up to 5,000 Fouts said. As of Monday afternoon, the fire was 10% contained.
GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY OVER WILDFIRE NEAR YOSEMITE
More than 2,500 firefighters with aircraft support battled the fire that erupted Friday southwest of the park near the town of Midpines in Mariposa County. Officials described “explosive fire behavior” Saturday as flames made runs through bone-dry vegetation caused by the worst drought in decades.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County due to the fire. Hours earlier, the state secured funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to access resources to suppress the fire.
By Monday morning, the fire had consumed more than 26 square miles of forest land, with 10% containment, Cal Fire said. The cause is under investigation.
Numerous roads were closed, including a stretch of State Route 140, which is one of the main routes into Yosemite.
California has experienced increasingly larger and deadlier wildfires as climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the past 30 years. Scientists have said weather will continue to be more extreme and wildfires more frequent, destructive and unpredictable.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.