Evacuation order due to Detwiler Fire lifted for town of Mariposa

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(Merced County Sheriff's Office via AP) Firefighters monitor flames on the side of a road as the Detwiler fire rages on near the town of Mariposa, California on July 18, 2017.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday the fire grew slightly overnight to 115 square miles (298 square kilometers) and threatens at least 1,500 homes.

The blaze had crept within a half-mile of Mariposa, but crews were able to stop it by dropping red fire retardant and using bulldozers and hand crews to build fire brakes, said Cal Fire spokesman Jason Motta.

Yosemite National Park remains open and operating normally even as smoke from the Detwiler Fire has drifted into the valley, putting a hazy filter on sightseeing.

Mariposa's 2,000 residents were told to leave town on Tuesday after its power and water links were damaged.

Cal Fire information officers won't say what structures have been burned because hundreds of evacuees won't know if they have anything left until they are allowed return home following containment.

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About 56 kilometres southwest of the park, Mariposa's charming main street has covered sidewalks and historic wood and brick buildings that now house antique shops, restaurants, pizza parlours and art galleries, offering a taste of the Gold Rush days.

Meanwhile, in Montana, officials said that a 19-year-old firefighter was killed on Wednesday when part of a tree fell on him while he was combating the so-called Florence Fire north of Seeley Lake. The Detwiler Fire perimeter Friday also appeared to be about 10 miles from the nearest edge of the 400-square-mile 2013 Rim Fire burn scar. The situation has reached a level of such concern that Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, lending understanding to the seriousness of this crisis.

"The place is like a ghost town", Dewey said.

"The imminent threat to Mariposa is over, but fire crews are maintaining the line to control the threat", he said.

So far, Yosemite is not threatened by the fire, although smoke and ash filled the air of the park as shown in this timelapse video. Highway 140 east of Mariposa to Yosemite National Park was reopened.

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