KYBURZ, Calif. (AP) — An unusual winter wildfire pushed by strong winds threatened cabins Thursday in a Sierra Nevada community that typically is covered with snow this time of year.
A California Highway Patrol officer went door to door in Kyburz to warn residents they might have to flee. The fire in the community of less than 200 people along Highway 50 remained small as fire crews tried to contain it before afternoon winds picked up.
Many of the cabins are used only as summer vacation homes in the heavily forested town about 75 miles east of Sacramento and 30 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe.
An overnight high-wind advisory was in effect until noon in the region, with sustained winds of 25-35 mph and gusts up to 50 mph. Kyburz, at 4,000 feet elevation, is unusually dry because of a lack of snow throughout the northern Sierra.
“If you’re fighting a fire up there, it’s certainly going to be breezy all day,” said Bill Rasch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Firefighters hoped to contain the quarter-acre fire quickly but were initially delayed until electricity could be cut to downed power lines, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
He said it was not clear whether the power lines caused the fire or were damaged by the blaze.
The blaze, he said, is a reminder that wildfires can burn any time of year in California.