Ackson, 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. It was 5 percent 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.