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Evacuation order lifted in 1,500-acre Saddle fire in Northern California

Evacuations lifted in 1,500-acre Saddle fire in Northern California

More than 1,000 firefighters in Northern California continued to battle a wildfire Sunday that has already scorched 1,490 acres. And as the spread of the flames slowed, officials lifted a mandatory evacuation for nearby residents.

The Saddle fire began about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after lightning struck a remote area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, northwest of Hyampom, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The fire, one of dozens in the area sparked by lightning brought by remnants of Tropical Storm Blanca, swiftly spread uphill, fueled by downed logs and parched brush, according to the forest service.

As of Sunday evening, the fire was 40% contained and the pace of the blaze had slowed.

"It's still an active fire, but it's not going to grow," fire spokesman Dan Bastion said.

Mandatory evacuations were initially ordered for residents living along Lower South Fork Road, north of Big Slide Campground to Manzanita Ranch, but Sunday afternoon, the evacuation order was downgraded to an evacuation advisory, Bastion said.

Firefighters have been challenged by steep terrain and high temperatures. Forecasters expect temperatures to cool to the high 80s, helping firefighters to gain the upper hand in dousing the flames, Bastion said.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

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