This fire season is proving, predictably, to be a doozy. Yet another wildfire has grown out of control in Madera County near the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park and the town of Oakhurst. The Junction Fire was sparked Monday, as the Chron and CalFire report, near Road 425A and the junction of Highways 41 and 49, hence the name. 13,000 residents in and around Oakhurst are now facing evacuation, and the fire could also threaten the eastern edge of the Sierra National Forest.
500 structures are threatened and the fire has now grown to 1,200 acres, with no containment percentage reported. Highway 41, which is a main route into Yosemite, has been closed. Over 600 firefighting personnel have joined the fight to contain the blaze, which is creeping toward the Bass Lake resort area.
As discussed earlier, with the worsening drought, the period of January to July of this year already saw a 50-percent jump in the number of fire incidents reported over last year, with over 2,700 and counting.
Just in the last six weeks in fairly populated areas we've seen the Butts Canyon Fire burn about 4,000 acres up in Napa County; the Monticello Fire which burned 6,500 acres just a few days later in Yolo County; the El Portal Fire which burned 4,700 acres at the western edge of Yosemite just south of last year's Rim Fire; and the French Fire in eastern Madera County which burned up about 13,000 acres two weeks ago. This is not to mention the smaller and more remote fires which continue to burn in Northern and Southern California.