Wildfire burns five homes near Sacramento, threatens 1,000 more

Reuters News
|
Posted: Oct 09, 2014 2:48 PM

SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - A wildfire northeast of Sacramento has burned 420 acres (170 hectares) and destroyed five homes, California fire officials said Thursday.

The blaze, which started as five separate fires along Interstate 80 near the community of Applegate on Wednesday, prompted evacuations and the closure of all but one lane of I-80 eastbound, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said on its website.

The fire threatened about 1,000 homes and was 20 percent contained on Thursday morning, the agency said, and a smoky haze hung over the state capital 40 miles away.

Winds on Wednesday moved the blaze toward the southeast, raising concerns that it could engulf the nearby American River Canyon, where brush and timber are "tinder dry" because of California's prolonged drought, said CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

"We are hoping we don't see the same wind we saw yesterday," Berlant said. Dry weather and warmer temperatures are expected to continue, however, he said.

About 1,200 personnel were dispatched to fight the fire, operating 128 engines, 7 helicopters and 18 bulldozers.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)