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2,600 buildings threatened by Northern California wildfire, forcing residents to flee

A wildfire burning in Northern California has grown to more than 1,500 acres and continues to threaten thousands of homes, forcing residents to flee, authorities said Thursday.

The Trailhead fire broke out Tuesday along the middle fork of the American River near Todd Valley, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Amid temperatures in the 90s and low humidity, the fire grew Thursday by at least 300 acres as about 1,900 firefighters sought to control the blaze.

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There were no reports of drones interfering with firefighters. Since Tuesday, at least two people flew hobby drones near the blaze, grounding firefighting aircraft until the area was clear. 

It’s against the law to pilot a drone near a wildfire because of temporary flight restrictions and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

The fire had burned 1,564 acres and was 12% contained Thursday evening.

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Flames spread amid dense vegetation and heavy timber in the remote area, forcing firefighters to initially depend on air tankers and helicopters.

The fire is threatening about 2,600 homes and other structures. No homes had been damaged as of Thursday night, and no injuries had been reported, according to Cal Fire.

The fire has spread southward and was active mostly in El Dorado County and the Eldorado National Forest. There, steep and inaccessible terrain – along with upward winds in area canyons – have posed difficulties for firefighters.

Officials in El Dorado County issued evacuation orders to residents along more than 30 streets north of Georgetown. Mandatory evacuations also were issued for residents on several streets and in a mobile home park in Placer County, where the northern flank of the fire is burning. On Thursday morning, the community of Volcanoville was under a voluntary evacuation order.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. El Dorado County officials also designated Golden Sierra High School in Garden Valley as an evacuation shelter.

A community meeting was scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Golden Sierra High School, where fire officials planned to provide additional updates to residents regarding the fire.

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UPDATES:

7:02 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the size and growth of the fire.

2:32 p.m.: This article was updated with information about a community meeting.

This article was originally published at 7:07 a.m.


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