MARIPOSA COUNTY, California (KGPE) – More than a thousand firefighters are battling the Briceburg Fire burning near Yosemite National Park.
Flames and smoke are blocking one of the park’s entrances and sparking mandatory evacuations for all addresses on Highway 140 between Octagon and Colorado road.
Residents nearby say dealing with wildfires is just a way of life in a mountain community such as Mariposa.
With flames covering the hillside in Mariposa County, the Briceburg Fire doubled in size overnight Tuesday after igniting Sunday. So far, torching 4,400 acres with only 15% containment by Wednesday evening.
Calfire says the main issue with the Briceburg Fire is it’s burning on a steep terrain forcing fire crews to resort to mostly an air attack.
Meanwhile, hundreds of firetrucks descended on Mariposa, the town a command center was set up for more than a thousand firefighters.
“I thought we made it through the whole season without having a fire this year, but it always seems to happen,” said Mariposa resident Brian Shoor.
Shoor lives in Mariposa and works in Yosemite. His commute now doubled because of the closed entrance.
“The economy here is really based on tourism and going up to the park and with 140 closed it makes it more difficult,” he said.
“We have some air quality impacts. It gets pretty smokey certain times of the day,” said Mikey Goralnik, who lives in Yosemite National Park.
At “The Alley,” it’s business as usual for now.
“The Ferguson Fire certainty had an impact on our tourism industry and that was a real issue for our community,” Goralnik said.
Adding, “Events like this though, they are really challenging and could put a big strain on the community. It can communicate to the rest of the world that Mariposa and Mariposa County are special in of themselves and independent of the park, this is a place you want to visit.”
Calfire says its making good progress on the fire, and crews have increased staffing and will continue their containment line construction overnight.