AUBURN—A large vegetation fire, fueled by wind and broken natural gas lines, destroyed 60 structures before firefighters gained control of the blaze Sunday evening.
The fire started just after 2:30pm Sunday afternoon and is burning north of Auburn in the area of Highway 49 and Rock Creek Road. The blaze has burned over 300 acres and is 70% contained.
More than fninety fire engines and over 600 fire personnel are on-scene. The fire has destroyed at least 60 homes and businesses. Power has been shut off at the request of Cal Fire authorities to over 550 PG&E customers in the area.
Eyewitness Aly Insantino told FOX40 News by phone she saw two people fanning flames and attempting to put out a small vegetation fire east of Bell Road while visiting a friend in Auburn. Her friend's home along Park Way Drive was spared.
Mandatory evacuations are in place along Dry Creek Road to Black Oak Road and Moss Rock at Saddle Rock Roads. Voluntary evacuations are in place between Moss Rock Drive and Windsong Place, along Florence Lane to Stanley Drive and in the area of Bell Road at Highway 49. Dry Creek Road and Bell Road have been closed due to traffic.
An evacuation center has been opened at the Rock Creek Elementary School at 3050 Bell Road. Rock Creek Elementary School will be in session tomorrow; officials are working to move evacuees to other shelters before school tomorrow. A second evacuation center has been established at Auburn Elementary School at 1400 Lariat Ranch Road. The DeWitt Center in North Auburn are accepting pets for those who have been evacuated.
Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Placer County along the 49 Fire lines. The Governor's emergency declaration frees up state funding to drive resources toward fighting the fire.
Two injuries were reported by Cal Fire on its incidents website, but it's unclear if these injuries are to firefighters or civilians. Cal Fire estimates the cost of the fire is $1.1 million.