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Firefighters make strides in fighting recent California fire – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Firefighters made progress Tuesday in fighting California’s biggest wildfire of the summer, with more than a quarter of the blaze being contained near Yosemite National Park.

The oak fire in central California broke out Friday and spread quickly, destroying 41 buildings and forcing thousands to evacuate.

As of Tuesday, nearly 3,000 firefighters and 24 helicopters at the scene had had some success in containing the blaze, helped by slightly higher humidity that is expected to rise further in the coming days.

Jonathan Pierce, a spokesman for the California Fire Department, told AFP that efforts to stem the spread of the blaze could soon be aided by approaching areas already devastated by wildfires in recent years.

“When that fire hits the Ferguson fire scar, it slows down a little bit because there’s less fuel there,” he said.

“This fire was only in 2018, so all of the vegetation that came back will be thinner than a lot of the vegetation that wasn’t burned.”

So far, the Oak Fire has burned 18,000 acres — the largest by area this year, but relatively small compared to the mega fires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in recent years.

Its spread was fueled by an abundance of combustible fuels after years of drought and hot, dry weather conditions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a “state of emergency” in Mariposa County on Saturday, citing “extreme threats to the safety of people and property.”

The Oak Fire burns just a few miles from the smaller Washburn Fire, which briefly threatened Yosemite’s rare redwoods earlier this month.

In recent years, huge and fast-moving wildfires fueled by a warming climate have ravaged California and other parts of the western United States.

The fire comes as the normally cooler Pacific Northwest faces extreme temperatures that are expected to top 38C in parts of Oregon.

Parts of the south-central United States, including Texas, are also experiencing sweltering heat waves.

But the Southwest sees monsoonal moisture, bringing heavy showers and thunderstorms to parts of the region, including parts of Arizona and Utah.

#Firefighters #strides #fighting #California #fire

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