Midpines: Firefighters were battling California’s largest wildfire on Monday caused by a fire near California’s famed Yosemite National Park, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.
oak fire Central California comes as parts of the United States are hit by a severe heat wave.
Oak fires in Mariposa County have engulfed 16,791 acres (6.795 ha) and contained 10 percent, cal fireThe state fire department said.
According to Cal Fire, it is the most devastating fire so far this season, destroying more than three times as much as the nearby Washburn Fire, which covers about 90 percent.
But it is less than last year’s Dixie Fire, which burned nearly a million acres.
“What we’re seeing on this (oak fire) is very indicative of what we’ve seen in fires across the West, across California, over the past two years,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief John Heggie told CNN.
“This fire is burning so fast and intensely that it is extremely challenging and extremely dangerous for both the public and firefighters,” Heggy said.
“It’s moving so fast that it’s not giving people a lot of time and they sometimes only have to evacuate with shirts on their backs,” he said.
The Oak Fire has forced the evacuation of nearly 3,000 people so far, officials said, and hot and dry conditions and the steep, rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada foothills are complicating firefighting efforts.
More than 2,000 firefighters are deployed, supported by 17 helicopters, against the Oak Fire, which occurred Friday near the southwestern edge of Yosemite National Park.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County, citing “a situation of extreme risk to the safety of persons and property.”
In recent years, huge and fast-paced wildfires have ravaged California and other parts of the western United States, driven by years of drought and warm climates.
“I can tell you it’s a direct result of climate change,” Hagee told CNN.
“You can’t have a 10-year drought in California and expect things to be the same,” he said. “Now we are paying the price for that 10-year drought.
“That drought is what we’re calling a megafire.”
Evidence of global warming can be seen elsewhere in the country, as 60 million Americans were under a heat advisory on Monday.
The National Weather Service said heat advisories are in place in the Southern Plains and the lower Mississippi Valley, while temperatures in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic will decrease on Tuesday.
Temperatures will exceed 100 or more degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) in the generally calm Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge and the Columbia River Basin.
It said on Tuesday it would break daily record highs from northern California to Portland, Oregon and the Seattle, Washington areas.
Cities have opened cooling stations and increased access to at-risk communities such as the homeless and those without air conditioning.
Recent months have seen extreme heat waves in various regions of the world, such as Western Europe in July and India in March to April, events that scientists say are a surefire sign of a warming climate.
The extreme weather prompted former Vice President Al Gore, a tireless climate advocate, to issue a dire warning on Sunday about “inaction” by US lawmakers.
Asked whether he believed US President Joe Biden should declare a climate emergency that would give him additional policy powers, Gore was blunt.
“Mother Nature has already declared this a global emergency,” Gore told ABC.