Photo by Diliff
A fire that started 10 miles outside of Yosemite National Park, now covers more than 109 square miles.
Per USA Today, “A wildfire that started about 10 miles outside the borders of Yosemite National Park grew Thursday to more than 109 square miles and destroyed 99 structures, 50 of them homes, fire officials said.”
The reason the fire is spreading so rapidly is because of the winds and low humidity in the area.
Los Angeles Times explains, “Weather conditions in the fire zone will do little to assist firefighters. Winds driven by the rugged, steep terrain and low humidity ‘will create favorable conditions for continued fire growth’ the National Weather Service in Hanford, Calif., said in a statement.”
One town, Mariposa was almost hit (about half a mile away), yet firefighters released a red fire retardant from an airplane.
ABC reports, “The fire came within a half-mile of Mariposa but crews have been able to keep it out of the town by dropping red retardant on the flames burning on nearby slopes and using bulldozers and hand crews to build fire brakes, said Cal Fire spokesman Jason Motta.”
Yosemite National Park itself was not affected, though park rangers are watching for signs of fire in the park. They cautioned asthma sufferers of the smoke and ash from the nearby fires.
USA Today states, “‘Here in Yosemite National Park, we are seeing impacts from the smoke, so we advise anyone in the park with asthma to be aware of air quality,’ said Jaime Richard, Yosemite National Park spokeswoman. ‘But, Yosemite National Park is open and we aren’t seeing a significant impact at this time.’”
Worst yet, though, as the fire moved East it hit an area of trees destroyed by bark beetles.
Per Los Angeles Times, “As the conflagration moves east, he said, flames are encroaching on areas where trees have been killed off by bark beetles.”
The rain and snow which came down in the winter caused the trees become dense, which made it difficult to put out the fire.
ABC explains, “Record rain and snowfall in the mountains this winter abruptly ended California’s five-year drought. But that has increased the challenge for crews battling flames feeding on dense vegetation.”
Yosemite National Park has volunteer opportunities for people to help in the park.
Yosemite reports, “These positions may include camp hosts, visitor information assistants, wildlife researchers, wilderness patrols, volunteer crew leaders, etc.” Pray for comfort for those who lost homes in the fire. Pray for wisdom for Yosemite rangers. Pray also for many to come to know the hope of Christ.