PLYMOUTH, Calif. (CBS13/AP) — A fast-moving wildfire in Northern California has prompted the evacuation of homes along a rural road east of Sacramento.
CalFire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said the fire broke out Friday afternoon in a riverbed along the Amador and El Dorado county line, north of the town of Plymouth.
She said the fire crossed the river into more rugged terrain, hampering firefighters’ efforts to corral the blaze. It has grown to about 600 acres.
After sunset, an ominous orange glow lit up the night sky as flames burned several miles north of the town of Plymouth. Firefighters were staging to protect several vineyards and an Amador County winery.
Several miles from the front lines, Gary Gates could only gaze up at the massive plume of smoke and wait and hope. He’s one of dozens of homeowners in the rural area forced out.
He says it’s the first time he’s ever had to evacuate after living in the area for more than 3 decades.
Nearby, the Stephenson’s got the door knock they never wanted.
“The sheriff came to the door and said, ‘You have to evacuate now,'” said Dolores Stephenson.
They packed their cars and headed to a friend’s house as firetrucks rushed by. They pleaded with firefighters.
“Save my home,” said Miriam Stephenson. “I’m hoping they’ll stop it. That’s all I can pray for.”
Jon Sanders decided he had enough time to water down his home on a day where temperatures went above 100 degrees at the time the fire started.
“I got all my stuff loaded, my truck’s pointed,” he said. “All I can do is prevention at this point.”
He says this isn’t the first time a fire has threatened his property, saying he’s seen one come close before.
Dry, thick brush and oak trees fueled the blaze, which sent a huge plume of smoke across the region.
Tolmachoff said an unknown number of homes on Sand Ridge Road off Highway 49 were evacuated.
Temperatures at the time of the fire were above 100 degrees.
Over the course of an hour, the fire has increased from a couple of dozen acres just after 5 p.m. to between 200 and 300 acres before 6 p.m.
The fire is about 45 miles east of Sacramento.
Tolmachoff said investigators were trying to determine whether a burned car ignited the fire.