August 4, 1996 in Nation/World

Homes, Vineyards Burn In California

Associated Press
 

Wildfires destroyed at least 13 homes in Northern California by Saturday, forcing more than 100 families to flee and causing nearly $2.5 million in damage to vineyards.

In Utah, at least 30 small wildfires sparked by lightning were being fought.

Northern California has been battling three fires over the past couple of days.

Milder weather helped crews gain the upper hand on the wine country wildfire in Sonoma that was ignited Wednesday when a tree limb hit a power line. Flames destroyed 2,000 acres, including 45 acres of vineyards owned by five wineries, and two homes.

A grass fire that started Friday in El Dorado County in the Sierra Foothills was almost out Saturday.

But about 1,500 firefighters still were battling a 2,400-acre fire in California’s eastern Mariposa County.

That blaze, which started Thursday, had destroyed 11 homes and three sheds and prompted the evacuation of 125 families at the base of Wildcat Mountain.

While crews had the flames 40 percent contained, firefighters were concerned that afternoon winds could stir them up once again and push them over fire lines, which is what happened on Friday.

Firefighters struggled to keep the blaze away from Oakhurst, a town that serves as a gateway to Yosemite National Park.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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