Fire burning near Yosemite National Park grows to 2,000 acres

The Briceburg Fire in Mariposa County reached 2,000 acres as of Tuesday.

The vegetation fire was 10 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, according to the latest CalFire incident status report. Highway 140, a major tourist route to Yosemite National Park, was closed from Colorado Road to Savages Trading Post.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for addresses on Highway 140 between Octagon Road and Buffalo Gulch, any homes or camps on Buffalo Gulch Road, Bug Hostel and Briceburg Campground. Mandatory evacuations previously were ordered for three homes near the fire, Briceburg Information Center and the McCabe Flat Campground.

The San Joaquin Valley Air District on Tuesday issued a “cautionary statement” in connection with dust and debris blowing around the foothills and into the valley in connection with the fire. Authorities urged anyone exposed to wildfire smoke to remain indoors with the windows closed, especially those with heart or lung diseases and elderly people and young children.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Sunday near Highway 140 and the Briceburg Road bridge. It grew to 500 acres by Monday afternoon.

In addition to the fire, some Mariposa County customers also were included in a multi-county planned power shutoff by Pacific Gas & Electric as a part of a statewide wildfire action plan, according to alerts by the company.

An evacuation center has been set up at New Life Christian Fellowship, located at 5089 Cole Road in Mariposa.

A small animal evacuation center has been set up at the SPCA of Mariposa County at 5599 Highway 49 in Mariposa, with phone number 209-966-5275. Those seeking help with evacuating large animals are being asked to contact Mariposa Animal Control at 209-966-3615.

People in these areas are advised to prepare for possible evacuation:

  • Colorado Road, between Highway 140 and Davis Road
  • Any home or camp on Davis Road
  • Highway 140 from Colorado Road to Midpines Market
  • Ponderosa Way and all side streets, including Deer Park, Leichtlin Lane and Feliciana Mountain Road
  • Rancheria Creek Road
  • Rumley Mine Road

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, the report states.

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Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.