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Residents return as containment grows for Yosemite fire

As of Sunday morning, the Washburn Fire is 51% contained at 4,864 acres.

YOSEMITE, Calif. — Containment continued to grow on a wildfire burning for more than a week in Yosemite National Park and residents of the mountain community of Wawona began returning to their homes on Sunday, officials said.

The Washburn fire was 51% contained after scorching 7.6 square miles (19 square km) of forest land, according to an incident update.

Residents and property owners can return to Wawona, but only with escorts during specific times, officials said. The area remains under a fire advisory.

The blaze began July 7 in Yosemite and is now burning into the Sierra National Forest. How the fire started remains under investigation but officials suspect people were the source.

Yosemite National Park visitors are prohibited from starting campfires or smoking in some areas to reduce the threat of sparking new wildfires, the National Park Service said Friday.

The famed Mariposa Grove, which includes more than 500 mature sequoias, escaped serious damage but the area remained closed to visitors.

Farther north, all evacuation orders and road closures were lifted Saturday for the Peter Fire in Shasta County. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that blaze destroyed 12 structures after erupting Thursday afternoon.

Fire Map

This wildfire map was created using data from NASA, NGA, USGS and FEMA.

WILDFIRE PREPS

According to Cal Fire, the 2021 fire season started earlier than previous years, but also ended earlier, as well. January 2021 saw just under 1,200 acres burned from nearly 300 wildfires. Fires picked up in the summer when the Dixie Fire burned in five Northern California counties — Butte, Plumas, Shasta, Lassen and Tehama. The Dixie Fire started on July 13 and wasn't contained until Oct. 25, burning nearly 1 million acres. It has since become the second-largest wildfire in state history and the largest non-complex fire.

Overall, 2.5 million acres were burned in 2021 from 8,835 wildfires. Over 3,600 structures were destroyed and 3 people were killed. 

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

WATCH: What you need to know to prepare, stay safe for wildfires

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, and supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and knowing your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts. 

Read more: Are you wildfire ready? Here's what to do to prepare for fire season.

PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.

What questions do you have about the latest wildfires? If you're impacted by the wildfires, what would you like to know? Text the ABC10 team at (916) 321-3310.
Watch More from ABC10: Yosemite Wildfire | Washburn Fire worries tourists seeking giant sequoias

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