Photos: California wildfire near Yosemite National Park grows

·4 min read

A wildfire that broke out Friday near Yosemite National Park in California has burned several thousand acres and led to evacuations of 3,000 residents in the area, as an ongoing heat wave continued to bake much of the country over the weekend. (On Saturday, California's Death Valley reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and Palm Springs, Calif., hit 114 degrees.)

Flames consume a home.
Flames from the Oak Fire consume a home in Mariposa County, Calif., near Yosemite National Park, on July 23. (Noah Berger/AP)

The fire has devoured more than 16,700 acres and is 10% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (also known as Cal Fire). The department said more than 2,000 firefighters, backed by 17 helicopters, have been deployed against the Oak Fire.

That fire has damaged or destroyed 15 properties and currently threatens thousands of homes and businesses, according to CBS News.

An air tanker flies over clouds of smoke and flames.
An air tanker flies over flames while battling the Oak Fire. (Noah Berger/AP)

"Smoke from the fire — which can be seen from the International Space Station — prompted an air quality advisory for the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday," CBS News reported.

The risk of wildfires has been exacerbated by climate change, which has caused more frequent and severe heat waves and droughts. Currently, the West is enduring a two-decade mega-drought that has caused the water in the nation's largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, to drop to "critical levels," according to the federal government. “It’s hot out there again today,” Cal Fire spokesperson Natasha Fouts said Sunday. “And the fuel moisture levels are critically low.”

Firefighters carry hoses away from a Cal Fire truck as flames can be seen shooting into the air in the background.
Firefighters work to keep the Oak Fire from reaching a home in Jerseydale, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)

The Oak Fire began in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near the small community of Midpines. Area resident Nick Smith told CNN his parents' home, where they lived for 37 years, had burned down.

"It's pretty sad to see the house that I grew up in and was raised in gone," Smith said. "It hits hard."

His parents had to evacuate so quickly, he said, that they couldn't bring many possessions. "They had just the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet," he added.

A firefighter sprays a hose on flames in a residential area.
A firefighter tries to keep flames from reaching nearby homes in Mariposa County, Calif., on July 22. (Noah Berger/AP)

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency on Saturday. To ensure that the state has adequate resources to fight the fire, Newsom obtained a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Smoke from the Oak Fire has traveled 200 miles to South Lake Tahoe, making local air quality hazardous. Smoke is expected to reach the San Francisco Bay area on Monday.

A firefighter holds a dog while standing next to a fire truck.
California firefighter Joanna Jimenez holds a dog she found wandering in a fire evacuation zone. (Noah Berger/AP)

According to Cal Fire, the Oak Fire is the largest of six wildfires currently burning in the state.

Pacific Gas & Electric said on Sunday that more than 3,100 homes and businesses in the area had lost power.

Midpines is roughly 30 miles from Yosemite National Park, which is famous for its giant sequoia trees.

More images of the Oak Fire

Flames engulf a chair inside a burning home.
Flames engulf a chair inside a burning home in Mariposa County, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)
An air tanker drops retardant over clouds of smoke.
An air tanker drops retardant in Mariposa County, Calif., while trying to stop the fire from progressing. (Noah Berger/AP)
An air tanker flies above a wildfire.
An air tanker flies above the fire in Mariposa County, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)
Burned trees in a forest as another is in flames.
A forest is incinerated near Midpines, Calif. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images)
A burning structure.
A structure burns in Mariposa County, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)
A firefighter runs to extinguish flames engulfing a structure.
A firefighter runs to extinguish flames as the fire crosses a road in Mariposa County, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)
U.S. Forest firefighters stand along a road watching a wildfire burn.
Firefighters stand along a road while the fire burns east of Midpines, Calif. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)
A firefighting helicopter passes the setting sun.
A firefighting helicopter passes the setting sun near Mariposa, Calif. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images)
A forest that was decimated by the Oak Fire.
A forest is left decimated by the fire. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images)

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