Residents forced to evacuate as River Fire explodes in size near Oakhurst

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MARIPOSA COUNTY, California. (KGPE) – A new wildfire called the ‘River Fire’ has burned 4,000 acres and is 5% contained, according to Cal Fire.

The River Fire has been raging in the mountains of Mariposa and Madera counties after it broke out near Oak Grove Road and Oak Grove School Road on Sunday afternoon.

181 fire personnel are fighting the inferno amid a heatwave and ongoing drought.

Ann and Dair Gordan had to evacuate due to the fire and shared a video of the flames racing toward their home.

“Spot fires were starting up in different locations it wasn’t just creeping up one direction. We waited until the very last minute, we were fighting the fire around the house,” explained Ann.

The Gordons say they quickly gathered clothing and other belongings and tried last-minute efforts to slow the blaze down with a hose and wet towels, but they say the fire was too overwhelming.

“Ashes were falling everywhere and we finally… He was still whipping at the flames getting close to the house, 20 feet from the house. And I just said, “We’ve got to go,” said Ann.

The latest update from Cal Fire shows no structures have been damaged in the fire so far, and no first responders have been injured, as they work to protect homes in the area.

Difficult and hilly terrain full of dry grass is one of the reasons why the fire has moved so quickly.

And you can see some of the bulldozers here behind me. They’re creating fire lines to prevent the fire’s fast spread to nearby houses.

But given the Gordon’s narrow escape, the future remains uncertain.  

“We had a beautiful house, might be all gone. And what do you do? Start over. So, we don’t know until we get back there. Maybe tonight,” said Dair.

In Mariposa County, a Red Cross Evacuation Center has been set up for evacuees at the New Life Christian Fellowship.

We’re ready to take on anyone that is evacuated to come here this is currently a resource center,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Taylor Poisall.

With hot and dry conditions still expected in the coming days, fire crews will have a difficult task to increase containment on this fire.

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