The Latest: Fire in Tuolumne County is growing dramatically

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The Latest news about the forest fires raging in California (all times are local):

6:30 pm

The Sacramento Bee reports that a wildfire burning in Tuolumne County in Northern California has grown tremendously and has led to the evacuation orders.

The Bee reports that the fire started Wednesday near the east side of Donnell More. Strong winds pushed the fire northeast Saturday, and it had grown to approximately nine square miles as of Sunday afternoon with no containment, according to the U. S. Forest Service officials.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 108 east on Eagle Meadow Road and in a westerly direction in Dardanelle Resort on Saturday because of the rapidly growing fire, which is burning in steep and rough terrain in the Stanislaus National Forest. The Bee reports that a mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area, including all campgrounds and residential dwellings.


5:15 pm

The National Park Service says that parts of Yosemite National Park is closed for an indefinite period of time because of the growing burn in areas near and on the park.

“Park managers and fire managers have made the decision to extend the current park closures for an indefinite period of time. Fire managers are continuously assessing the circumstances in the region and will work directly with and advise park managers if conditions change and it is safe to reopen,” the agency said in a statement.

The park service says parts of Yosemite, that will be closed Yosemite Valley, El Portal Road, Wawona Road, Big Oak Flat Road, Glacier Point, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias, Wawona Campground, Crane Flat Campground and Tamarack Camping.


4:40 pm

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that the forest fires hitting California are “are magnified so much worse by the bad ecological laws, which do not allow huge amount of water available to be properly utilized.” Trump said the water is diverted into the Pacific Ocean.

The president also called for the clearing of trees to stop the fire from spreading.

The tweet came a day after Gov. Jerry Brown called on Trump to help the state to deal with the deadly and destructive wildfire season.

Brown said he is hopeful Trumpet with a so-called Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California. The declaration would help the fire victims with unemployment assistance, food aid, and legal and mental health counseling under other federal programs. The declaration will also provinces and cities eligible for federal financial aid and help with the repair of the billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure.

More immediately, the declaration will enable the federal agencies to help fight the battle of the 17 major fires burning across the country.


12:08 pm

A utility worker was killed in the vicinity of a Northern California wildfire as crews work in the sweltering conditions fought multiple brands, including twin fires that exploded in size and forced hundreds more to evacuate rural communities, officials said Sunday.

The Pacific Gas and Electric employee was fatally injured in a car-related accident Saturday on the western edge of the Carr Fire in Shasta County, said utility spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin. Jairus Ayeta, who was in his 20s, worked as an apprentice lineman and was part of a PG&E crew working in “dangerous territory” to restore power, she said.

Ayeta is the seventh person to die in the immense glow that is the burning of for two weeks in the vicinity of Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleet of planes to continue fighting against the flames about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the Oregon state line. Two firefighters and four residents, including two children, were killed. The fire was more than 40 percent contained Sunday.

Meanwhile to the south, new evacuations were ordered on Saturday evening in the vicinity of twin fires burning in Mendocino and Lake counties in the wilderness on both sides of Clear Lake. Hot, dry wind fanned the two brands, which collectively charred nearly 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometers) of brush and timber. The entire so-called Mendocino Complex Fire is now one of the largest on record in the state, the officials said.

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