July 9, 2008

N. Calif. Wildfire Forces 10K Out of Homes

A wildfire in Northern California burned 50 homes and forced the evacuation of 10,000 people as firefighters to the south reported making gains.

The 49,000-acre fire north of Sacramento caused the worst damage in Concow, officials told the Los Angeles Times.

There's just no predicting how things will go, said Wes Cochran, a spokesman for the the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze in Butte County jumped a fire line Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents in Paradise, 90 miles north of Sacramento, and other nearby communities, the Times reported. Evacuation orders were in effect Wednesday for 3,800 homes.

The fire is among more than 300 still burning. More than 1,700 blazes destroyed at least 675,000 acres since the fires began June 20.

Firefighters, meanwhile, reported progress against the blazes in Goleta and Big Sur. Officials said the 9,700-acre Gap fire near Goleta was declared 55 percent contained.

In Big Sur region, about 200 residents and business owners evacuated last week were allowed to return Tuesday.

Officials said the Basin Complex fire, which has burned 86,726 acres, was 27 percent contained Wednesday, having destroyed two dozen structures and still threatening 2,255 others.