Updated 10:30 a.m. Wednesday
Firefighters have significantly slowed the spread of a raging wildfire near Yosemite National Park, allowing officials to lift some evacuation orders for residents of remote mountain communities.
By Wednesday morning, the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, the state's largest wildfire so far this year, had churned through nearly 19,000 acres of tinder-dry trees and brush, as an army of more than 3,100 firefighters working around the clock made steady gains, with 32% of the blaze now contained, Cal Fire said.
Around 3,800 people were allowed to return to their homes starting Tuesday, with another 2,200 residents still under evacuation orders, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Chris Garcia.
At least 74 houses and other structures have been destroyed.
"Firefighters worked overnight to increase containment lines around the fire perimeter," a Wednesday morning Cal Fire status report said. "Crews continue work around communities, patrolling for hot spots, providing structure defense, and building of direct fire line in very steep and rugged terrain. Damage inspection continues throughout the fire’s perimeter."
Officials on Tuesday night reopened Highway 140, one of the main routes leading into Yosemite National Park, the report said.
Ground crews with air support got a break from increased humidity and lower temperatures earlier this week as monsoonal moisture moved through the Sierra Nevada foothills.