The massive wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park is nearly halfway contained and no longer seriously threatens some of the thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate last week, California fire officials said Sunday.
The Detwiler fire in Mariposa County is now 40 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire, also known as Cal Fire, said Sunday afternoon. Fire crews have successfully slowed the 76,000-acre fire’s growth after it grew at an unprecedented speed last week, at one point doubling in just one day.
Cal Fire lifted evacuation orders for several areas on Sunday, though residents in those communities are advised to remain cautious. It may be another two weeks until the fire is completely contained.
It’s one of dozens of fires that have overwhelmed California and several other western states in recent weeks, including Montana, where an enormous blaze has burned about 200,000 acres and remains entirely uncontained.
While an end to the fire is finally in sight, it’s done significant damage. Since igniting last Sunday, the Detwiler fire has destroyed 63 residences, 67 minor structures and one commercial structure. 1,500 structures remained threatened.
Ongoing hot, dry weather conditions are helping create an uphill battle for firefighters.
“Weather is expected to remain above 100 degrees with low humidity,” Cal Fire said in its Sunday update. “We ask the public to exercise caution and remember that, ‘One Less Spark-One Less Wildfire.’”
The cause of the blaze remains unknown, but years of drought have parched California and turned forests into tinder-dry wildfire fuel. Additionally, a record-wet winter spurred excessive brush growth, which has since dried out during this summer’s record-high temperatures, creating even more wildfire risk.