River Fire doubles in size as hundreds of firefighters struggle to contain inferno

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MARIPOSA COUNTY, California. (KGPE) – Nearly 500 firefighters continue to battle the out-of-control River Fire near Oakhurst.

The fire, which began on Sunday afternoon, has doubled in size in the last 24 hours and is now at 8,000 acres with 10% containment.

“Fire crews have continued to work aggressively,” said CalFire Spokesperson Jaime Williams. “They are trying to get the upper hand on this fire.”

Williams said the fire has destroyed five buildings. It is not known how many buildings are threatened.

Hundreds of firefighters and over 80 engines from across the valley and state continue to create hand lines on the ground, while seven helicopters fill up from a nearby pond and attack from the air.

Officials said the biggest obstacles so far have been the dry conditions and heat.

“They have had some trees torching, some wind-driven runs, and spot fires popping up, so, they have had quite a few challenges on this fire.”

Madera County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joseph Wilder said around 80 homes are under mandatory evacuations in Madera County, with 40 more homes under an evacuation warning.

“We encourage them to be ready to go. Listen to the warnings, and be prepared,” said Wilder.

Mariposa County has several mandatory evacuation orders in place and the Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at New Life Christian Fellowship Church.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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