The lockdown escalated overnight over a fire that has burned for more than a week in Yosemite National Park and residents of the Wawona community can return home starting Sunday, officials said Saturday. of the park.
The Washburn blaze was 37% contained, down from 27% on Friday, and grew slightly to 19 square kilometres.
“Yesterday we had a very successful day and it was the day we’ve been waiting for,” Operations Section Chief Matt Ahearn said during a Saturday morning briefing.
The fire started on July 7 and is now burning in the Sierra National Forest. How the fire started is under investigation, but officials suspect people were the source.
Visitors to Yosemite National Park are prohibited from lighting campfires or smoking in certain areas to reduce the risk of starting new wildfires, the National Park Service said Friday.
The famous Mariposa Grove, which includes more than 500 mature redwood trees, escaped serious damage, but the area will remain closed to visitors. Ahearn said crews were cleaning up in the grove.
People who own private property as well as park employees who live in Wawona can return home starting Sunday morning, but only with escorts. The area remains under fire notice.
Further north, all evacuation orders and road closures were lifted Saturday morning in Shasta County’s Peter Fire. Crews also reported favorable overnight conditions and containment was at 65%, down from 34% on Friday.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire started shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday and destroyed 12 structures.