Evacuations ordered as new California wildfire rages in scorching heatwave

Evacuations ordered as new California wildfire rages in scorching heatwave

Evacuations ordered as new California wildfire rages in scorching heatwave

Scorching temperatures on July 4 fueled wildfires in California as forecasters warned that the coming days could be dangerously hot.

As much of the country is in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave that will make conditions dangerously hot, a massive wildfire near Yosemite National Park has prompted evacuations and forced hospital patients to shelter in place.

The French Fire in Mariposa County, California, began Thursday. It was 20% contained by Friday evening, having burned 908 acres, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Some Mariposa residents were allowed to return home Friday night, but an evacuation warning and mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for other areas.

Footage taken at the scene and posted on social media shows the sky lit bright orange by massive flames amid towering clouds of smoke. Another video shows a plane dropping fire retardant over a wooded area near Mariposa on Thursday.

About 3,400 power customers were without electricity Friday night in Mariposa County, according to the website

In the Santa Ynez Valley, about 60 miles northeast of Santa Barbara, the “rapidly developing” Lake Fire was reported near Zaca Lake in the Los Padres National Forest shortly after 4 p.m., federal fire officials said.

Despite an aggressive attack by firefighters, the blaze has grown to 500 acres, with no containment reported, officials said.

In Northern California, the much larger Thompson Fire continues to rage in Butte County, where it has burned nearly 3,800 acres and is 55% contained as of Friday night.

The fire broke out Tuesday in Oroville, 65 miles north of Sacramento, and forced thousands of people to evacuate, although the “vast majority” of the 17,000 people under evacuation orders or warnings were able to return home Thursday, said Kristi Olio, Butte County public information officer.

Lynette Bailey told NBC News on Thursday that she had to scramble to get her 90-year-old father to a nearby shelter.

“It was panic, because my dad didn’t want to leave and I told him: ‘You have to get in the car right now.’”

Thompson Fire (Noah Berger / AP)Thompson Fire (Noah Berger / AP)

Thompson Fire (Noah Berger / AP)

But with no shelter left for her dog, Bailey has spent the past two days outside in the heat. “It’s so sad. I’m out here in this 105 degree heat… I’m more worried about my dad,” she said.

Many Fourth of July celebrations were canceled across California on Thursday as temperatures surpassed the 100-degree mark, with some places reaching 110.

Cal Fire and the Butte County Fire Department said Thursday that a 61-year-old man was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with starting a fire — a small, controlled blaze designed to help contain a larger one — that was extinguished by firefighters.

“An individual was observed setting a fire on property located near the Oro Quincy Highway,” authorities said in a statement. The man admitted to setting the fire with a propane torch and was booked into jail on a felony charge of setting an illegal fire on forest land.

Oroville was hit by the Camp Fire in 2018, which killed 85 people and displaced an estimated 50,000.

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