Firefighters target Sierra fire where 300 homes evacuated
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Half a dozen communities were threatened Monday by several wildfires across Northern California.
A 2,100-acre blaze in the Sierra foothills threatened more than 300 homes, said Paula Schnarr, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry. More than 800 firefighters battled the Leonard fire as the National Weather Service warned of increasing winds.
Three structures were lost, but it was unknown whether they were homes, Schnarr said.
A layer of smoke from the fire blanketed the small community of San Andreas Monday.
Residents from 300 homes in the rural area were ordered evacuated Sunday. Additional evacuations were expected, Schnarr said. Residents gathered at the community’s Town Hall, which was converted to a temporary shelter.
Firefighters used air tankers Monday to slow the fires, Schnarr said.
The fire started about 2:30 p.m. Sunday a half mile outside San Andreas, 50 miles southeast of Sacramento. By late Monday, the fire was only about 10 percent contained.
The cause of the blaze was under investigation.
About 1,300 firefighters had the 6,000-acre Creek Fire in Mariposa County nearly 50 percent contained Monday. Homes along Highway 120 in Groveland were under a mandatory evacuation order, and residents in the rest of Groveland, and Pine Mountain Lake were on standby to evacuate Monday night, according to CDF spokesman Frank Logue.
The fire also closed Highway 49 between Mariposa and Tuolumne counties. Arson was suspected.
Logue said he didn’t know when the road would be reopened. Evacuated residents were sheltering at the Sonora Fairgrounds.
Twenty homes were evacuated Monday between Mariposa and Oakhurst, where firefighters from the CDF and the U.S. Forest Service were battling the 200-acre North Fork fire. The fire was moving toward Bass Lake in Madera County, according to the CDF’s Lisa Barnett.
The fire was believed to have been sparked by a man using a grinder in the area, she said.
Other fires still burning in Northern California Monday included:
– The 24,970-acre Trough fire 150 miles north of San Francisco in the Mendocino National Forest was 95 percent contained.
– The 35,500-acre Blue fire 350 miles northeast of San Francisco in Modoc National Forest was 95 percent contained.
On the Net:
Read about fires at http://www.cdf.ca.gov
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