Firefighters look on as the Oak Fire burns in Darrah in Mariposa County, California, July 22. REUTERS/David Swanson
US, Washington: US authorities in California evacuated thousands of people and shut off power to 2,000 houses and businesses in the wake of a wildfire near Yosemite National Park since Saturday.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, announced the wildfires ate away 50 kilometers of the park amid the blistering heatwave the US is undergoing.
The fires caused severe damage to houses, business headquarters and forced the closure of numerous highways, Cal Fire said.
The evacuation orders for more than 6,000 people in a rural community have been set into effect since Saturday, and State Governor Gavin Newsom declared emergency in Mariposa County over the impacts of oak wildfires.
Spokesman for the Sierra National Forest Administration Daniel Patterson said more than 400 firefighters, as well as several helicopters, were attempting to rein in the fires, noting they were confronting severe circumstances due to hot temperatures, low humidity and the existence of dry plants as a result of the worst drought in decades.
Owing to the climate change that turned California over the past three decades into a drier and warmer region, wildfires across California have escalated over the past years.