California fires north and south bring evacuations

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in Northern California destroyed two homes while a much larger blaze proved stubborn amid high temperatures and dry brush in Southern California.

Dozens of homes were evacuated because of the fires Saturday, officials said.

The Northern California blaze broke out shortly after 2 p.m. in the Sierra Nevada foothills about halfway between Sacramento and Reno and grew to 250 acres, destroying two homes and three outbuildings, said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

By evening all evacuations were called off and the fire was 20 percent contained, Berlant said.

The burned homes were in Alta Sierra, a community of some 6,000 people about five miles south of Grass Valley.

In Southern California, firefighters coping with high temps sought to contain a wildfire that forced people to flee about 30 homes near the Cleveland National Forest.

The fire, which burned through about 2 ½ square miles of dry canyon brush, was only about 10 percent contained, said Deanne Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Emergency Operations Center.

Both heat and smoke advisories were in effect for the area, with temperatures forecast to reach as high as 105 degrees between Sunday and Tuesday.

More than 700 firefighters, aided by six helicopters and five planes, were battling the blaze.

“The fire is making a couple of uphill runs,” Orange County fire Capt. Mike Petro said Saturday.

The flames sent up a towering column of smoke that could be seen for miles.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

About 90 to 100 homes in the area were without power Saturday, and Thompson said authorities had opened several cooling centers for people needed to escape the heat.

The Cleveland National Forest sprawls over the rugged peaks of the Santa Ana Mountains, straddling the Orange and Riverside county line southeast of Los Angeles.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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