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Electra fire in California explodes past 3,000 acres

July 5, 2022 Updated Tue., July 5, 2022 at 12:52 p.m.

The Electra fire, near the border of Amador and Calaveras counties in California, has swelled above 3,000 acres as of Tuesday morning.    (Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS)
The Electra fire, near the border of Amador and Calaveras counties in California, has swelled above 3,000 acres as of Tuesday morning.   (Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS)
By Hayley Smith Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A fast-growing wildfire burning near the border of Amador and Calaveras counties swelled past 3,000 acres on Tuesday and poses a “continued threat to critical power infrastructure,” officials said.

The Electra fire ignited Monday afternoon near the North Fork of the Mokelumne River and spread quickly amid dry brush and steep terrain, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“I went to bed last night knowing it was over 1,000 acres, and now we’re closely watching it as it has the potential to become a large fire,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie said Tuesday.

The fire was 3,034 acres Tuesday morning and 0% contained, he said.

Approximately 100 visitors and employees were evacuated Monday night from the Electra powerhouse, a Pacific Gas & Electric hydropower facility, Cal Fire said.

More than 5,700 customers in the area were without power Tuesday morning, according to PG&E.

The fire has also prompted mandatory evacuation orders in both Amador and Calaveras counties, where at least 450 structures are threatened.

Evacuation orders in Amador County include all roads south of Butte Mountain Road from South Clinton Road to Amador Lane.

Evacuation orders in Calevaras County include areas north of Highway 26 from Montgomery Drive to Lower Dorray Road.

Multiple roads are closed to traffic entering those areas, including State Route 26 in both directions.

Heggie said the fire is burning in rugged, steep terrain, “which is creating accessibility issues.” Images captured by wildfire cameras on Monday showed the blaze had formed a large pyrocumulus cloud, signaling intense heat.

News video showed roaring flames searing through drought-dried brush overnight as crews worked to battle the blaze. Ash rained over nearby homes.

The Red Cross has opened two evacuation centers near the fire, including the Italian Picnic Grounds in Sutter Creek and the San Andreas Town Hall in San Andreas.

There is a large and small animal shelter at the Amador County Fairgrounds. Small animals can shelter with owners at the San Andreas Town Hall.

More than 1,200 personnel are attacking the fire from the air and ground, Cal Fire said.

The priority on Tuesday is keeping the fire east of Highway 49 and south of Highway 88, north of Jesus Maria Road and west of Highway 26 and Railroad Flat Road, officials said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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