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California wildfire near Sacramento forces hundreds to flee

fire crew member
fire crew member

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento on Saturday, a day after the blaze broke out, fire officials said.

The wind-swept fire burned more than 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), destroying five residences and two outbuildings and causing one minor injury, said Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

The fire is centered about 5 miles (8 km) north of the town of Plymouth and 30 miles east of Sacramento in north central California and it covers parts of Amador and El Dorado counties, according to Cal Fire.

About 250 homes were ordered evacuated on Saturday afternoon, bringing the total number to 515 since the blaze erupted on Friday, Tolmachoff said.

The fire was about 20 percent contained, she said.

Flames were moving rapidly on Saturday afternoon, but dying winds and cooler temperatures by the evening helped firefighters take control, Tolmachoff said. An evacuation shelter for people, livestock, dogs and cats was established at a local high school.

More than 50 fire engines were on the scene of the fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, Cal Fire said.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Ron Popeski)

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