Wildfire rages near Yosemite

By Michael Martinez, Faith Karimi and Ralph Ellis, CNN

updated 11:13 PM EDT, Sat September 6, 2014


  • NEW: Fire is 60% contained, Cal Fire says Saturday night
  • “Access to the fire is difficult due to steep terrain,” authorities say
  • Bridge Wildfire in Mariposa County has burned 300 acres

(CNN) — Firefighters near Yosemite National Park made gains Saturday afternoon on a wildfire that torched 300 acres, injured one person and forced the evacuation of some nearby homes.

More than 745 fire personnel contained 60% of the wildfire, which ignited Friday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office evacuated an undisclosed number of residents in the Ponderosa Basin area, and authorities said 700 structures were threatened.

Jamie Williams in the Cal Fire call center said Saturday night that almost all of the residents in the Ponderosa area have been allowed to return home.

Janet Smith evacuated her house and moved her two dogs and cat to a parking lot in Mariposa.

“I just bought this house a year ago so I’d hate to lose it,” she said.

California’s ongoing historic drought is helping fuel the flames in the park’s so-called Bridge Fire, authorities said.

“Fire burning at a moderate rate of spread. There continues to be a threat to the Ponderosa Basin community,” Cal Fire said. “Access to the fire is difficult due to steep terrain.

“Firefighters are experiencing extreme fire behavior conditions due to drought and low fuel moisture,” the agency said.

No details were immediately available on the injury and evacuations. The cause has not been determined, Williams said.

An evacuation shelter was set up in the New Life Christian Fellowship in the community of Bootjack, authorities said.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report


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