Washburn fire in Yosemite forces evacuations of Wawona, campgrounds

A wildfire burning in Yosemite National Park has continued to grow, reaching 466 acres as of Friday night, when monitoring activity prompted authorities to issue an evacuation order for Wawona.

The community surrounded by the park was ordered to evacuate around 4 p.m. along with the Wawona Hotel and campground, said Scott Gediman, a park spokesman. Authorities estimate that about 700 people have had to relocate because of the Washburn fire.

“The health and safety of park visitors and employees is paramount,” Gediman said.

Those in Wawona and at the campground have been ordered to leave immediately and take Wawona Road, also known as Highway 41, north toward Yosemite Valley, authorities said. Southbound traffic was closed at the Wawona Golf Course.

More than 100 workers were assigned to the fire, which was 0% contained, Gediman said. Crews face hot and dry conditions as they try to control blazes threatening hundreds of giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove, a popular destination in the park.

“Our firefighters work safely,” he said. “We’re getting more resources, more tankers and helicopters. This is a 100 percent suppression effort.”

The fire ignited Thursday afternoon before growing to about 60 to 70 acres by the end of the day. It grew rapidly on Friday as firefighters battled in the hot, dry conditions.

Temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days, but winds have been fairly light and are not expected to get much stronger, Gediman said.

The American Red Cross of Central California has opened an emergency shelter for fire-affected evacuees at the New Life Christian Fellowship, 5089 Cole Road in Mariposa.

“Volunteers are on site to provide safe shelter, food, water and additional resources,” the organization tweeted at 5 p.m

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-08/washburn-fire-yosemite-national-park-wawona-campground-evacuations Washburn fire in Yosemite forces evacuations of Wawona, campgrounds

Alley Einstein

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