Massive wildfire burns 25,000 acres in Central Valley, forces evacuations

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Action Newsroom Live
Latest information on the Detwiler fire headed towards Mariposa.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. -- A massive wildfire began ripping through the Central Valley Tuesday, threatening homes, businesses, and people. The 25,000-acre fire is threatening the entire town of Mariposa.

Officials say eight structures have been destroyed and at least 1,500 others are threatened by the growing flames.

The Red Cross said there were probably at least 150 people at the EV Free Church in Oakhurst and more people are showing up.

The Red Cross said they are also sheltering animals at this location so people have been seen showing up with their pets and as many of their belongings they could gather.

Air efforts are moving quickly as the Detwiler Fire continues to spread. The fire has already burned more than 15,000 acres since it sparked up on Sunday.

Air efforts are moving quickly as the Detwiler Fire continues to spread. The fire has already burned thousands of acres since it sparked up on Sunday.

The flames have exploded in size, and are burning through the foothills. People are now being evacuated from Mariposa.

"I don't think we can emphasize enough how erratic and active this fire activity is-- especially with this fire. It's done stuff that we've never seen before," said Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Binnewies.

The fire jumped over Highway 140 on Tuesday, causing it to close almost nine miles of roadway east of the Merced/Mariposa County lines. Highway 49 is closed in portions of north Mariposa and several evacuation orders are still in place as hundreds of crews continue to arrive from all over to state to help.

"When you add the challenge that we're in the foothills-- when you add the slopes and grades and the temperatures we're dealing with, the humidity we're dealing with-- it's a full-on challenge," said Isaac Sanchez, Cal Fire PIO.

The orange haze and pillars of smoke can be seen for miles.

The fire is also threatening power lines, many that supply power to Yosemite National Park. Fire officials said more units are en route as the fire grows, causing them to move their command unit to a bigger space in Merced.

FEMA is also authorizing the use of federal funds to help the state with this fire.

Travelers are asked to avoid Highway 49 and 140, and take Highway 41 and 120 instead.

The Detwiler fire rages through mountains in the Central Valley on July 18, 2017.



Acres burned: 25,000

Containment: 5%

Structures Threatened: 1500

Structures Destroyed: 8 destroyed and 1 damaged

Evacuation orders are in place for:

  • City of Mariposa, Mount Bullion Ridge Road from HWY 49N to CYA Road
  • Old Toll Road between Corbett Creek Road and HWY 49N, including Corbert Creek Road.
  • Mount Gains Road to No.9 Road including No.9 Road
  • Mount Bullion Cut off Road and Agua Fria Road from HWY 49N to HWY 140
  • HWY 49N to Baxby Bridge to Agua Fria Road; Area known as Mount Bullion
  • HWY 49N from Mount Bullion Ridge Road to Old Toll Road
  • Pendola Garden Road from HWY 49N to Old Toll Road (Exit via Old Toll Road only)

Evacuation Advisories are in effect for the following areas: All of CYA Road.

Red Cross Evacuation Shelter:

EV Free Church

50443 School House Road

Oakhurst, CA

Road Closures

HWY-49 at HWY-132 (Coulterville Rd.) - Restricted access to locals with addresses in La Grange, Coulterville, or Greely Hill only

Bear Valley Rd. at Exchequer Rd.; Hornitos Rd. and Old Toll Rd.; HWY-49 and Mt Bullion Cutoff.; Mt. Gains Rd. at No.9 Rd.; Hwy 49 at Aqua Fria.; Hwy 140 at Aqua Fria.


Fire activity continued to grow throughout the night due to ample fuel, and steep terrain. Today firefighters expect unfavorable weather conditions and aggressive fire behavior. The communities of Hunters Valley, Bear Valley, and Hornitos continue to be threatened as the fire encroaches on culturally and historically sensitive areas.

Traffic along HWY 41 & 49 will be impacted as a result of road closures on HWY 49. The fire continues to threaten power lines to the south of the incident, which supply power to Yosemite National Park.

Firefighters on the ground as well as aircraft are actively working to contain and suppress the fire. CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4 assumed command of the incident at 1000 hrs. from the Madera, Mariposa, Merced Unit.