Northern California fire forces hundreds to evacuate

About 200 additional homes evacuated Saturday afternoon due to Sand Fire

A wildfire in Northern California fueled by dry conditions and high winds destroyed five homes and has forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 residents.

The Sand Fire had burned about two square miles near the border of Amador and El Dorado counties off the Sierra Nevada foothills as of Saturday morning. It also burned seven other smaller structures such as detached garages, said Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“About 700 structures are now threatened,” Tolmachoff said. “Right now I have no confirmation on containment.”

An update on the fire’s size is expected Saturday evening.

Firefighters were having trouble extinguishing the flames due to triple-digit heat, low humidity and winds with speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, Tolmachoff said.

The fire broke out Friday about 4:30 p.m. on San Ridge Road off Highway 49. It crossed the Cosumnes River into drier territory and began to pick up speed, Tolmachoff said. The blaze may have been ignited by a burned car near the riverbed.

An evacuation center has been set up at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.  

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