“The fire has entered the grove,” Robbie Johnson, a spokesperson for the fire response, told CNN on Sunday evening. “But the good news is because of prescribed burns and clearing out material on the ground, it’s clear in the Mariposa Grove,” where protection efforts have yielded a “doughnut hole” shield.
An evacuation order has been issued
Part of the blaze has been successfully contained at its origin point near Mariposa Grove, but the fire has continued to stretch northeast, officials say.
Hot and dry conditions will continue through the rest of the week, and the fire is expected to continue spreading, though its intensity may be reduced from scars left by previous fires, according to InciWeb.
While fire is a natural part of Yosemite’s ecosystem, severe burns like the Washburn Fire threaten the forest, Gediman said.
California grapples with fire challenges
A San Francisco area air quality agency encouraged residents Sunday to take precautions such as staying indoors and closing windows to stay away from smoke drifting into the region.
Last week, officials in southern California announced that region is bracing for a particularly challenging summer and fall of wildfires, as a prolonged drought has left vegetation brittle and dry. And even as fires continue to extend beyond the traditional season, worker shortages plague some firefighting crews.
CNN’s Dakin Andone, Taylor Romine, Paul Vercammen, Hannah Sarisohn, Chuck Johnston, Michelle Watson and Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.