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Mariposa Evacuation Order Lifted

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR
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A rescued horse with the address of its owner

Residents of the town of Mariposa are free to return to their homes. Cal Fire has lifted the evacuation order caused by the Detwiler Fire that sent the town’s roughly 2,000 residents scrambling. As of Friday morning, the fire has burned 58 single family homes.

Cal Fire officials say that while the fire continues to burn it is no longer a threat to enter the city.

Andy Isolano with Cal Fire says cooperation from the weather and an influx of firefighters helped to protect the historic mining town.

“It got scary close. We just want to make sure everybody knows there will still be smoke in the area as firefighters continue their firefighting operations,” Isolano says.

Road closures around Mariposa have been lifted, including one that blocked the highway 140 entrance into Yosemite National Park.

However, smoke from the fire continues to pour into the park and the surrounding San Joaquin valley.

Health officials are warning residents and visitors to take precautions as a result.

In all, about 5,000 people have had to evacuate at some point during the fire.

However, not all the evacuees were humans.

One unusual thing about some of the horses at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds is that some of the animals have been spray painted with an address and phone number.

Those are horses that their owners were going to set loose as the fire approached before the rodeo took them in for emergency shelter.

Donny Linderholm with Rodeo says they are caring for 53 evacuated horses, on top of the 32 they usually care for.

“It’s devastating for these people who have to go through it. We are here to do all we can to have a safe space for the livestock—as well as compassion for the people dropping them off,” Linderholm says.

Linderholm says people in the horse community from as far away as Lake Isabella have donated all the necessary feed and supplies to care for the animals.

Some of the horses are lucky to be alive as they arrived with visible burns from how close the fire got before they were rescued.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.