MARIPOSA (AP) — A wind-whipped wildfire near the main route into Yosemite National Park in the Central Sierra foothills forced the evacuation of about 150 houses and threatened others, a state fire official said on Monday.
More than 700 firefighters are battling the Carstens fire which began Sunday afternoon and has burned about 1 1/2 square miles or 900 acres, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
With more than 140 engines and two helicopters on the scene, the crews have contained about 15 percent of the blaze so far that's burning in an area about six miles northeast of Mariposa off Highway 140, Berlant added.
"The strong winds and dry conditions have been major factors. The fire moved quickly," said Berlant, adding that Monday's weather forecasts estimate gusts of up to 20 miles per hour.
No structures have been burned as the exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Berlant said.
Four stretches along the oft-used Triangle Road are currently closed. The Red Cross has also set up a shelter in Mariposa.
Meanwhile, a smaller fire near the Madera County city of Friant has burned 482 acres. The Rolling Hills fire is 80 percent contained.