Fire in Mariposa County chases residents from homes |

Fire in Mariposa County chases residents from homes

SACRAMENTO (AP) – A wildfire in Mariposa County briefly jumped containment lines Tuesday and chased more residents from their homes before firefighters reined in the 10,265-acre blaze.

Residents of several small rural neighborhoods were evacuated Tuesday as a precaution, bringing to 3,000 the number of homes that have been threatened since the suspected arson fire started Saturday.

At midday Tuesday, authorities said the fire was 60 percent contained, but they didn’t have an estimated time for full containment.

Called the Creek fire, the blaze has destroyed three homes and one outbuilding, said Sheryl Tankersley, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

For the third straight day, the fire closed Highway 120 from Moccasin to Yosemite National Park.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Coulterville Community Center.

Meanwhile, about 80 miles away near San Andreas in the Sierra foothills of Calaveras County, 50 people who were forced from their homes by flames sought shelter at a Red Cross center set up in a local high school, said Annette Roessler, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry.

Called the Leonard fire, it had burned 3,155 acres and threatened the homes of 300 residents, said Betty Lentz, a Red Cross Volunteer and resident.

Those at the shelters ”are very disheartened and very upset,” Lentz said. ”People left their animals and homes behind.”

Displaced residents moved from the town hall to the Calaveras High School Monday because it had better equipment, such as showers.

Pet owners were advised to take animals they were able to rescue as they left their homes to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds where volunteers were helping care for them.

More than 400 firefighters fought the blaze, which was 20 percent contained. There was no projected date for containment.

Other fires still burning in Northern California Tuesday included:

– The 2,750-acre Ponderosa fire in Placer County was 90 percent contained, with 1,944 firefighters on the job, said fire information officer JoAnn Cartoscelli.

– The 37,500-acre Blue fire in the northeastern corner of California in Modoc National Forest was 95 percent contained.

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