SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters in Northern California battled a new wildfire that broke out east of Sacramento Monday in a recreation area packed with Fourth of July revelers, forcing a number of evacuations.
As the fire quickly spread, 85 to 100 people celebrating the vacation at a recreation area known as Vox Beach along a river in the area had to be taken to a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility, Amador County Sheriff said. Gary Redman.
Those people were safe at the facility Monday night but were unable to leave due to the fire hazard, Redman said.
“We can’t go in there. Fire can’t get in there,” Redman told The Associated Press late Monday. “The trees go further and further. The whole place is on fire.”
The fire in Amador County quickly spread to 959 acres (388 hectares) as of just after 7 p.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire† The fire service had said on Twitter just hours earlier that the fire was 75 acres (30 hectares) in size and “burned at a dangerous spreading rate in dry grass”.
Redman said the fire’s spread had slowed by 10 p.m. Monday, and he hoped those trapped in the PG&E facility would not have to spend the night. He said firefighters were working to clear a path to the facility so a bus or patrol cars could be deployed to carry people outside.
Redman said about 500 other people had been affected by mandatory and recommended evacuations.
He said the cause of the fire was unknown, but it started in the Vox Beach area. He said fireworks or a barbecue could be the possible cause.
Vox Beach is about 55 miles east of Sacramento.
The fire is one of several fires in the state.
Earlier Monday, authorities said evacuation orders and warnings had been lifted in another Northern California county after a wildfire threatened about 500 homes and other buildings there.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said warnings regarding the Rices Fire were lifted early Monday. Local residents were urged to exercise caution when returning to the area due to possible damage.
It started with a burning building and flames spread to nearby dry vegetation in the rural area northeast of Sacramento, about halfway between the Capitol and the Nevada border.
The fire has burned approximately 900 acres (366 hectares) and is 65% under control. It is expected to be completely curtailed on Tuesday, officials said.