UPDATE: The Detwiler Fire has burned 70,096 acres and is 10% contained, CalFire officials announced early Thursday. Forty-five structures have burned.
At a briefing at Merced County Fairgrounds, CalFire officials said it was a "pretty good day" on Wednesday for firefighting efforts. The fire grew by 17,000 acres, significantly less than previous days.
ORIGINAL STORY: A rampaging wildfire near Mariposa, which has forced the evacuation of more than 5,000 people, has now claimed potentially 29 of their homes, Cal Fire reported in a Wednesday evening update.
At least eight of those structures are homes, the Mariposa County Shierff’s Office confirmed.
The Detwiler Fire, which has grown to 48,000 acres and is 7% contained, is now one of the largest wildfires in the state, with nearly 3,200 personnel, 413 engines, and more than a dozen aircraft called in to try and stop the inferno. Another five structures have been damaged, Cal Fire reported.
Throughout Wednesday, firefighters had to deal with shifting conditions as the flames, which forced full evacuations of Mariposa on Tuesday, split to the north and caused Coulterville and surrounding areas like Greeley Hill to fall under evacuation orders in the morning.
For a full list of evacuated areas and road closures, including extensive portions of highways 49 and 140 in the Mariposa area, click here.
The Red Cross moved an evacuation shelter from a Mariposa location to Caesar Chavez Junior High at 161 S. Plainsburg Road in Planada. Three more shelters were set up in Oakhurst - at the Evangelical Free Church, 50443 School Road (427), the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, 39696 Highway 41, and Mountain Christian Center, 40299 Highway 49.
Another shelter was also opened at the Groveland Community Hall, 18720 Highway 120.
At least two Facebook groups have been set up for members to discuss how they can help evacuated residents and their pets, as well as how to make donations to the Red Cross. Click here for that story.
Cal Fire’s Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit provides a 24-hour fire information line, with a live volunteer, by dialing 1-844-MMU-FIRE (1-844-668-3473).
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Management Agency, or FEMA, authorized the use of federal funds to assist in trying to save Mariposa shortly after it was placed under evacuation. A short time later, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Mariposa County as the fire continued to approach the historic city.
Jake Gorba, affiliated with Our Heroes Dreams, is reaching out to anyone in the Mariposa area who need assistance evacuating. They can contact him at (559) 760-8849. If that line doesn’t work, a second is available with Jon Cook at (559) 801-8137.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
This story will be updated.