A massive wildfire burning in the Central Valley spread across thousands of acres overnight and forced residents to flee their homes.
The Detwiller fire, which started just before 4 p.m. Sunday, scorched 7,100 acres Monday, two miles east of Lake McClure in Mariposa County, about 40 miles east of Modesto, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The blaze destroyed one structure and damaged another.
Mariposa County sheriff’s officials ordered evacuations for all homes on Detwiler, Hunters Valley and Cotton Creek roads as flames crept closer to residential neighborhoods on Sunday.
The orange glow from the flames drew looky-loos to the fire lines, and prompted the Sheriff’s Office to issue a stern warning: “PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE AREA.”
“Lots of people out there trying to take photos but we would like to remind everyone that fire can be a very fast moving changing situation, it is very important to keep the roads clear for emergency traffic,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Farther north in Mendocino County, about 450 firefighters tackled the 900-acre Grade fire.
Burning five miles northwest of Redwood Valley, the blaze, which was 10% contained, triggered evacuation warnings in the Baker Creek subdivision.
The wildfire erupted about 2:50 p.m. Sunday along Highway 101 and threatened nearby homes and structures, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Elsewhere, the 18,311-acre Whittier fire continued to burn into the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Goleta in Santa Barbara County. The fire was 49% contained.
The blaze, which started July 8 in the Lake Cachuma area, destroyed 30 outbuildings and 16 homes, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Flames damaged one home and six outbuildings.
Aided by a fleet of water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, fire crews were working Monday to protect the Cold Springs Tavern, a historic restaurant nestled along Highway 154.