Updated Jul 25, 2022 - Energy & Environment

In photos: Huge California fire near Yosemite forces thousands to evacuate

Fire burns near a Smokey the Bear fire warning sign as the Oak Fire burns through the area on July 24, 2022 near Jerseydale, California.
Fire burns near a Smokey the Bear fire warning sign as the Oak Fire ravages the area on July 24, near Jerseydale, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A wildfire near Yosemite National Park exploded in size over the weekend as hot and dry conditions hampered efforts to contain it, authorities said.

The latest: The Oak Fire in Northern California grew to more than 15,600 acres and was 0% contained as of Sunday night, per Cal Fire. After igniting on Friday, the wildfire underwent "explosive growth" Saturday, reaching 6,555 acres.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency for Mariposa County as evacuation orders were issued for more than 6,000 residents across the Sierra Nevada foothills, per AP.

  • About 2,000 firefighters are tackling the Oak Fire as aircraft and bulldozers assist, AP notes.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The blaze is happening amid an extreme, long-lasting drought in California that is also affecting much of the West. Above average temperatures and dry conditions are providing the fire with ideal conditions to spread rapidly, with little relief in sight.

  • Studies show climate change is leading to larger, more intense wildfires in much of the West, while also increasing the instances of days that are conducive to large blazes.
In photos:
A firefighting aircraft drops retardant ahead of the Oak Fire on July 24, 2022 near Jerseydale, California.
A firefighting aircraft drops retardant ahead of the Oak Fire on July 24, 2022 near Jerseydale. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
 A firefighter stands on the deck of a home as the Oak Fire moves through the area on July 23, 2022 near Mariposa, California. T
A firefighter stands on the deck of a home as the Oak Fire moves through the area on July 23 near Mariposa, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
 A forest is incinerated by the Oak Fire near Midpines, northeast of Mariposa, California, on July 23.
A forest is incinerated by the Oak Fire near Midpines, northeast of Mariposa, California, on July 23. Photo: David McNew/AFP via Getty Images
A hotshot crew marches along a burning forest as the Oak Fire in Northern California ripped through thousands of acres on July 23. Photo: David McNew/AFP via Getty Images
A structure burns on Jerseydale Road amid the Oak Fire on July 23. Photo: David Odisho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Destroyed property is left in the wake of the Oak Fire in Yosemite National Park as it chews through the forest on July 23. Photo: David McNew/AFP via Getty Images
A firefighter sprays a burning tree near Midpines, northeast of Mariposa, Calif., on July 23. Photo: David McNew/AFP via Getty Images
Flames of Northern California's Oak Fire creep into a meadow where cattle are grazing on July 23. Photo: David McNew/AFP via Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include more photos and further details on resident evacuations, firefighting efforts and the fire's spread.

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