California wildfire near Yosemite prompts evacuation of 700 homes

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 06, 2014 3:08 AM

(Reuters) - A 300-acre wildfire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park in central California prompted authorities to order the evacuation of hundreds of homes, officials said on Friday.

The blaze, dubbed the "Bridge Fire", began in the afternoon in Mariposa County, some 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) southwest of the national park, forcing evacuations and closures of the surrounding roads, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CalFire).

The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that about 700 homes were in the evacuated area.

As of 10 p.m. local time on Friday, no structures had been damaged, one person had sustained minor injuries, and the blaze was 10 percent contained, CalFire said.

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as firefighters battled wildfires across California, including the massive El Portal blaze that charred nearly 4,700 acres on the western edge of Yosemite National Park. [ID:nL2N0Q904H]

With federal funds for fighting wildfires running low, officials in California on Thursday called on Congress to move forward on a stalled plan to set up an emergency reserve fund for battling the extreme blazes anticipated this fall. [ID:nL1N0R62SV]

Concern about funds for firefighting are growing as danger from wildfires increases throughout the western United States, and as the fire season reaches its peak amid a devastating drought that has left dry, combustible fuel ready to burn.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Catherine Evans)