New evacuations for communities near California forest fire

  • A firefighter sprays water while trying to keep the Electra Fire from spreading in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    A firefighter sprays water while trying to keep the Electra Fire from spreading in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • A helicopter drops water while battling the Electra Fire in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    A helicopter drops water while battling the Electra Fire in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • A firefighter burns vegetation while trying to keep the Electra Fire from reaching homes in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    A firefighter burns vegetation while trying to keep the Electra Fire from reaching homes in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • Firefighters burn vegetation while trying to keep the Electra Fire from reaching homes in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    Firefighters burn vegetation while trying to keep the Electra Fire from reaching homes in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • An air tanker drops retardant while battling the Electra Fire in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    An air tanker drops retardant while battling the Electra Fire in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • Residents watch as the Electra Fire burns in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    Residents watch as the Electra Fire burns in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

  • Firefighters battle the Electra Fire in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening.

    Firefighters battle the Electra Fire in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening. Associated Press

  • A firefighter sprays water on the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening.

    A firefighter sprays water on the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening. Associated Press

  • Firefighter Rafael Soto battles the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening.

    Firefighter Rafael Soto battles the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening. Associated Press

  • David and Deanna Martinez watch as the Electra Fire burns towards the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. The couple relocated to the area after losing their home in 2018's Camp Fire.

    David and Deanna Martinez watch as the Electra Fire burns towards the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. The couple relocated to the area after losing their home in 2018's Camp Fire. Associated Press

  • As the Electra Fire approaches, Sutter Creek Police Off. McKeon tells an elderly resident to wait for him to jump start her car while evacuating residents in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

    As the Electra Fire approaches, Sutter Creek Police Off. McKeon tells an elderly resident to wait for him to jump start her car while evacuating residents in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Associated Press

 
 
Posted7/6/2022 7:00 AM

JACKSON, Calif. -- Evacuation orders were expanded Tuesday for remote California communities near a wildfire that may have been sparked by fireworks or a barbecue on the Fourth of July in a mountainous region that's a top tourism destination.

The Electra Fire in Sierra Nevada Gold Country broke out Monday afternoon and tripled in size to about 6.1 square miles (15.8 square kilometers). It was 5% contained Tuesday night.

 

The fire was making short, uphill runs, fire officials said.

'The rate of spread isn't what it was like yesterday, but it is still spreading,' said Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman. He said firefighters were working to keep flames confined to unpopulated canyon areas.

Mandatory evacuation orders and warnings combined affected up to 700 residents in Amador County and 300 to 400 people in Calaveras County, Redman said. Evacuation centers were set up for people and animals.

The fire started at a recreation area that was packed with people, forcing 85 to 100 celebrating the holiday at a river to take shelter at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility, Redman said. All were later safely evacuated.

'This was the closest I've ever been to a fire. It was literally within feet of us,' said Milka Mikula of Valley Springs, who had gone to the river with her husband, her 5-year-old daughter and her 1-year-old son.

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They had to wait about six hours before they could finally start for home, she told KCRA-TV.

'I just wanted to get home. I just wanted to get out of there with my babies. I was shaking really, really bad for quite some time,' Mikula said.

Redman said the cause of the fire was not known, but that it started in the Vox Beach area of the North Fork Mokelumne River. He said that could suggest fireworks or a barbecue as a potential cause.

More than 100 fire engines, 1,200 firefighters and 14 helicopters were sent to the fire, which was a threat to power infrastructure, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The terrain was described as steep and rugged.

Cal Fire activated an incident management team for the fire. The teams "are made up of trained personnel who provide operational management and support to large-scale, expanding incidents,' Cal Fire said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

One firefighter from the local fire protection district suffered burn injuries, Redman said.

Vox Beach is about 55 miles (89 kilometers) east of Sacramento in the heart of the Sierra Nevada region that is steeped with the history of the mid-1800s Gold Rush.

Several other small fires were burning in the state.

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