13,000 homes and businesses ordered to evacuate as out-of-control wildfires bear down on Yosemite with one dangerously close to propane gas factory
Up to 13,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes and businesses as out-of-control wildfires tear through central California towards Yosemite National Park.
The blaze, covering an area of 1,200 acres, has forced four hotels to be abandoned and school classes to be cancelled in the community of Oakhurst - with State Route 41 now shut to all travellers.
The fire has also crept dangerously close to a propane factory with 30,000 gallon tanks of the inflammable gas stored on the site.
Three separate wildfires are currently burning in California - covering an area of almost 5,000 acres
A scorched landscape shows the scale of the blaze in Wofford Heights near Lake Isabella, California, where a 3,000-acre fire is burning
Kern County Fire crews head towards a huge cloud of smoke rising into the air in Wofford Heights yesterday
Firefighters said they are desperately trying to save the business but will not risk crew members being injured by a potentially massive explosion.
State fire Division Chief Don Stein, told the Fresno Bee: 'We will be in there as long as we can, but firefighter safety is an issue.'
The four hotels evacuated are situated about 16 miles away from an entrance to Yosemite National Park and today Yosemite Unified School District called off classes.
The evacuation of Oakhurst was ordered by Sheriff John Anderson late last night and so far no-one has been reported injured.
After arranging for 13,000 phone calls to made to residents and business owners, the police officer declared a local state of emergency in Madera County.
A firefighter watches smoke rise at the site of a wildfire on Sunday in Glendora, California - in the San Gabriel Mountains north-east of Los Angeles, where roughly 200 people were evacuated
Firefighters gather in Glendora, California, where the smaller blaze is now said to be under control
Meanwhile, another blaze that began yesterday 50 miles north-east of Bakersfield, central California, has surged to 3,000 acres, or nearly five square miles.
The Forest Service said that the fire, burning near Lake Isabella in Kern County, brought recommended evacuation orders for several neighborhoods.
They confirmed that many buildings had been destroyed but were uncertain how many were homes.
North-east of Los Angeles, crews were making quick work of a 275-acre wildfire that forced the evacuation of 200 people from camp ground and recreational areas.