New wildfire in California shuts down power to Yosemite

A fast-moving wildfire near Yosemite National Park claimed a dozen homes and prompted hundreds more evacuations Sunday, as thousands of firefighters struggled to keep it from engulfing nearby communities.

Fire crews had built containment lines around 10% of the more than 26,000-acre fire by Sunday night, and officials said cooler conditions were aiding firefighting efforts.

Still, fire officials ordered additional evacuations of about 430 homes in the Greeley Hill area, in the Mykleoaks subdivision, and along Whitlock Road, French Camp Road and Grosjean Road, said Rick Benson, Mariposa County administrative officer. On Saturday, about 170 homes in the Midpines area were evacuated.

The so-called Telegraph fire, yet another in an already devastating California fire season, continued to threaten nearly 2,000 homes in the Mariposa County foothills that serve as Yosemite's western gateway.

The fire crept within two miles of Mariposa, where hospital officials prepared to evacuate 29 patients — or have firefighters surround the hospital to defend it if flames get close.

In Yosemite, hotels and restaurants got by on generators after power lines to Yosemite Valley were shut down because of the potential risk to firefighters working beneath the wires. A transmission line that carries electricity to the park was then brought down by the fire, PG&E spokesman James Guidi Jr. said.

Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries, said Mike Mohler, a spokesman for Cal Fire. The fire had destroyed 12 homes and 27 outbuildings as of Sunday night, he said.

The fire threat led authorities Sunday to issue an evacuation warning to people living in the communities east of Highway 49 from Mykleoaks Road south to the Highway 140 junction and in communities west of Highway 140 from Mariposa north to Briceburg.

Nearly 2,000 firefighters, coming from as far as San Diego, were fighting the blaze Sunday.

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