Detwiler Fire update: Evacuation orders for Mariposa lifted; highways reopened

Up-close footage of California National Guard firefighting efforts

The 129th Rescue Wing shows its recent firefighting efforts in Northern California. The crew on the Pave Hawk helicopter, included Major Nate Nowaski, Capt. Tyler Gibson, Staff Sgt. Christian Meyers and Senior Airman Ryan Dumatol. Video was posted
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The 129th Rescue Wing shows its recent firefighting efforts in Northern California. The crew on the Pave Hawk helicopter, included Major Nate Nowaski, Capt. Tyler Gibson, Staff Sgt. Christian Meyers and Senior Airman Ryan Dumatol. Video was posted

UPDATE: The evacuation order for Mariposa has been lifted, effective at 11 a.m. Friday, Cal Fire announced.

In addition, Highway 49 near the town has been reopened and Highway 140 is open to Yosemite National Park.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Detwiler Fire’s path of destruction near Mariposa and Yosemite National Park has claimed at least eight more confirmed homes overnight, Cal Fire announced in a Friday morning update.

Through the latest numbers, the blaze grew to 74,083 acres and is 15% contained. At least 58 single family residences have been destroyed, with 11 damaged and 1,500 total structures still under threat. Another 60 minor structures (storage sheds, barns, water pump covers) have been destroyed.

Damage assessment crews have completed approximately 80% of their assessment of damaged and destroyed buildings

According to Cal Fire, more than 3,800 personnel are at work fighting the inferno, Cal Fire said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Officials estimated the cost of fighting the fire at $10.7 million on Thursday.

Thursday night, Cal Fire confirmed 50 homes had been claimed by the raging wildfire thus far.

Firefighters worked through the night establishing and reinforcing containment lines. Much of the fire is steep and rugged with areas difficult to access.

The weather is expected to be hot and dry with winds out of the west-northwest today. The fire continues to challenge firefighters in drought stricken chaparral and in an area of severe tree mortality. Power lines supplying power to Yosemite National Park continue to be threatened.

2,930 PG&E customers out of power

According to spokesman Denny Boyles, there are 130 PG&E employees and 81 contractors at the base camp in Mariposa, and other employees are providing support from offices throughout our service territory.

“As of now we have 2,930 customers out of power due to fire related damage,” Boyles said in a prepared statement Friday morning. “Since the fire started, we’ve had approximately 11,000 customers lose power. We began restoration on Monday night by routing power around damaged circuits, and we are continuing that process going forward whenever its necessary.”

On Wednesday, Cal Fire was able to clear limited access for PG&E to safely begin assessments of fire damage in a few areas where the fire is mostly out.

PG&E will have 16 assessment teams working today.

“So far we’ve identified 36 transmission poles and more than 200 distribution poles that will need to be replaced,” Boyles said. “We are anticipating and expecting additional damage to our infrastructure that we have yet to identify. We have begun repairs in areas where the fire is no longer burning contingent on Cal Fire approval.

“The terrain is steep, and in many inaccessible to normal equipment. The fire damage is scattered, one pole here, then a quarter mile to a line of poles that need to be replaced. Stumps may still be smoldering underground. All of that means we need to maintain a safe and deliberate pace as we work to repair the damage,” Boyle said.

The communities of Hornitos, Catheys Valley, Bear Valley, Mount Boulion, Mid Pines, Jersey Dale and portions of Greeley Hill and Dog Town are still affected by fire-related outages.

PG&E has restored power in downtown Mariposa, all the way to Ponderosa Basin. The goal is that when it is safe to re-enter these areas, people will have power in their homes.

“We are also working between the Bear Valley Substation to the Mariposa Substation along the Highway 49 corridor, and along Bear Valley Road to Hunter Valley Road,” Boyle explained. “We have identified 76 poles that will have to be replaced just in the Hunter’s Valley Road area. We expect to have that work completed and power restored to that area by Sunday.

PG&E has staged 22 MW of mobile generation in the area in case there is additional damage to transmission lines from the fire.

Evacuation advisory

North County: Highway 49 North from Oakridge Rd. to the county line.

All roads north of Greeley Hill Rd. to the Mariposa County line, to include Dexter Rd., Cueno Rd., Smith Station Rd. to Highway 120 and all feeder roads, Buck Meadows Rd. north of Greeley Hill Rd. to Highway 120, Old Yosemite Rd. and Bull Creek Rd.

South County: Highway 49 South from Ben Hur Rd. to Indian Peak Rd. and all feeder roads, Ashworth to Silver Lane and all feeder roads. Silver Bar to Ashworth and all feeder roads, Indian Peak to Oak Grove Rd. and all feeder roads.

Oak Grove Rd. from Miwuk Rd. to Oak Grove School Rd. and Aall feeder roads. Allred Rd. from 49 South to Morningstar Lane and all feeder roads.

Morningstar Lane to Carlton Rd. and all feeder roads. Carlton Rd. to Silva Rd. and all feeder roads, Silva Rd. to Highway 49 South and all feeder roads.

Bear Valley Rd. - All homes from Exchequer Rd. to Hornitos Rd..

Hornitos Town Area, Highway 140 from Briceburg to E. Whitlock, Colorado Rd. from Highway 140 to Rancheria Creek Rd., Oak Rd. and Yosemite Oak Rd.

This story will be updated.

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