Bay Area teams aid fight against Detwiler Fire near Yosemite National Park

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Mandatory evacuations are in place as thousands of firefighters work the lines to fight a fire raging near Yosemite National Park threatening nearly 5,000 structures. (KGO-TV)

Firefighters from the Bay Area left at 3 a.m. Wednesday to help fight a fire raging near Yosemite National Park.

Mandatory evacuations are in place as thousands of firefighters work the lines to fight the Detwiler Fire that was threatening nearly 5,000 structures.

RELATED: Prepare NorCal: Disaster Preparedness Resources

The fire has grown to 45,724 acres and is only 7 percent contained. Strike teams from six Bay Area counties are helping in the effort. Governor Jerry Brown has issued a state of emergency for Mariposa County, and Cal Fire says its technology can't keep up with how fast the fire is growing.

Dozens of firefighters and 10 engines from Santa Clara County, San Jose, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill and Milpitas make up the three strike teams, which includes an office of emergency services unit. They will pitch in on the front lines as long as they're needed.

But the firefighters staying behind are also working extra hard during fire season.

"We send 40 firefighters out that means 40 spots here at home have to be filled. Often times it's filled with overtime. So people are out there on the fire lines working extra days. They are too here back at home," Santa Clara County Fire Chief Ken Kehmna said.

The massive wildfire began ripping through the Central Valley Tuesday, threatening homes, businesses, and people.

"If it's getting into the tree mortality area, you're talking about dead, you know large stands of dead trees that are never going to come back provides a very significant fuel source. Big timber fuel source," Kehmna said.

Officials say eight structures have been destroyed.

Mariposa Lodge Owner Mia Gloor watched from a distance, hoping some way, somehow it will stop before getting to her family business. "Everybody is scared, you'd never think something like this would happen in your town," she said.

Delmer Humphrey lives along Highway 49, directly across from the raging blaze. Despite there being a mandatory evacuation,he sat outside in his wheelchair and watched the flames. "I feel safe, I'm right behind the highway patrolman's office. They ain't going to leave me," he said.

Cal Fire said steep terrain and strong winds have been creating challenges for them over the past three days, causing the raging blaze to burn more than 45,000 acres. "We did have a problem earlier today with embers landing and creating spot fires outside of the area we have been concentrating on," Cal Fire Capt. Jerry Fernandez said.

As firefighters work around the clock to get it contained, Humphrey said he will wait to see if it inches closer to his home. If it does, he is going to use a flashlight to get first responders' attention to save him and his dog Serene. "My dog is my scariest part, the fire can have me, but I won't give my dog up. She deserves to live on, I'm at peace with myself. The Lord can take me when he takes me," he said.

It is also important to note that there is a hospital and jail nearby. Officials said that the patients and inmates are not being evacuated and that at this time it is safer to keep them where they are than to move them to a new location.



Acres burned: 45,724
Containment: 7 percent
Structures Threatened: 4,966

Structures Destroyed: 8 destroyed and 1 damaged

Evacuation orders are in place for:

  • City of Mariposa, Mount Bullion Ridge Road from HWY 49N to CYA Road

  • Old Toll Road between Corbett Creek Road and HWY 49N, including Corbert Creek Road.

  • Mount Gains Road to No.9 Road including No.9 Road

  • Mount Bullion Cut off Road and Agua Fria Road from HWY 49N to HWY 140

  • HWY 49N to Bagby Bridge to Agua Fria Road; Area known as Mount Bullion

  • HWY 49N from Mount Bullion Ridge Road to Old Toll Road

  • Pendola Garden Road from HWY 49N to Old Toll Road (Exit via Old Toll Road only)

Evacuation Advisories are in effect for the following areas: All of CYA Road.

Red Cross Evacuation Shelter:
EV Free Church
50443 School House Road
Oakhurst, CA

Fire Information Line: (844) 668-3473

Road Closures
HWY-49 at HWY-132 (Coulterville Rd.) - Restricted access to locals with addresses in La Grange, Coulterville, or Greely Hill only
Bear Valley Rd. at Exchequer Rd.; Hornitos Rd. and Old Toll Rd.; HWY-49 and Mt Bullion Cutoff.; Mt. Gains Rd. at No.9 Rd.; Hwy 49 at Aqua Fria.; Hwy 140 at Aqua Fria.

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. The fire continues to threaten power lines to the south of the incident, which supply power to Yosemite National Park.

Firefighters on the ground as well as aircraft are actively working to contain and suppress the fire. CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4 assumed command of the incident at 1000 hrs. from the Madera, Mariposa, Merced Unit.
Related Topics:
wildfiremariposa countycal firefireevacuationfirefightersfire departmentsbrush fireyosemiteyosemite national parkFresnoYosemite National ParkMilpitasSan JoseMorgan HillMountain ViewPalo AltoSunnyvale
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