PLYMOUTH — A wildfire in Northern California has forced evacuations and destroyed five homes and several other structures near vineyards in the Sierra Nevada foothills, authorities said Saturday.
The Sand Fire has burned about 1,300 acres near the border of Amador and El Dorado counties since it broke out around 5 p.m. Friday as temperatures topped 100 degrees. It was about 20 percent contained Saturday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The fire has led to the evacuation of about 750 people from 250 homes north of the town of Plymouth, about 40 miles east of Sacramento, CalFire spokeswoman Lynn Tolmachoff said. Officials have set up an evacuation center at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and closed a stretch of Sand Ridge Road.
The fire crossed the Cosumnes River into more rugged terrain, quickly spreading to dry, thick brush and woodland terrain near vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley.
“The drought is very severe here. All the plants are catching fire and spreading very easily,” Tolmachoff said.
Investigators are trying to determine whether a burned car found by the riverbed ignited the fire, which has sent a huge plume of smoke across the region.
The rough terrain has hampered firefighters’ efforts to corral the blaze. Crews are focused on slowing the fire’s march toward Logtown, a historic mining town in El Dorado County, Tolmachoff said.
“The firefighters will be here all day and all night again trying to get this fire wrapped up,” Tolmachoff said.