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Northern Calif. fire forces thousands to evacuate

SAN FRANCISCO — Thousands of people have been told to leave their homes as a wildfire burning Sunday in thick forest threatened rural communities in far Northern California.

The fire that sparked around 11:30 a.m. Saturday has destroyed four homes and consumed nearly 19 square miles near the towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. About 3,500 homes spread out across a rural area along the border of Tehama and Shasta counties are threatened as the fire continues to expand, he said.

"A good majority are immediately threatened, and a good number are in the path of the fire," Berlant said Sunday. "We will be battling it hard today to protect as many of those homes as possible."

The fire's cause has not been determined, but officials said it started after a series of lightning strikes in the area.

The fire, burning in a rugged area of thick forests about 170 miles north of Sacramento, is one of a handful of new fires in Northern California.

Elsewhere in the West, fires also continued to rage.

• In Idaho, about 1,100 firefighters worked to protect some 350 homes in the Featherville area under a mandatory evacuation as the Trinity Ridge Fire continued a slow approach toward the community.

• In Washington state, better weather over the weekend helped firefighters gain ground on a fire that has scorched dozens of homes near Cle Elum, about 75 miles east of Seattle.

• In Utah, evacuation orders were lifted east of Park City as firefighters made progress on a wildfire near Jordanelle State Park. But crews were dispatched Sunday afternoon to another Wasatch County blaze, where 60-foot flames were reported in Daniels Canyon.

Northern Calif. fire forces thousands to evacuate 08/19/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:37pm]
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