YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Evacuation orders are now in place in some parts of Yosemite National Park due to the Washburn fire and southbound Highway 41 is closed at the Wawona Golf Course. 

Residents and visitors in the Wawona and Wawona Campground area have been asked to leave immediately. The Mariposa Grove is one of the most popular spots in the park and has also been evacuated and remains closed.  The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is home to over 500 mature giant sequoias and those are now being threatened.

The fire, burning in the southern part of the park, grew 237 acres overnight to just over 700 acres.

Crews on the fire line are combating the wind which is causing spots to spread and move, bringing the fire closer to some of the developed areas of the park.  Yosemite National Park Ranger Scott Geddiman says if the fire was burning in different part of the park, evacuations might not be needed. The Wawona area is not just home to a campground and other wooden structures, but also to homes that were built before the area was incorporated into the park.

Members of the Red Cross have set up an evacuation shelter for some of the 200 people living in the Wawona community.  It is located at the New Life Church located at 5089 Cole Road in Mariposa, CA.

Wawona and Wawona Road south of Yosemite West are currently closed.  All other areas of Yosemite National Park are open.

Fire officials advise drivers to use Highways 140 or 120 to enter Yosemite.  And for those following evacuation orders, drivers are told to use Wawona Road (Highway 41) northbound toward Yosemite Valley. Highway 41 southbound traffic is closed at the Wawona Golf Course.