Residents of homes scattered throughout a rugged area of Placer County northwest of Foresthill were evacuated Wednesday afternoon as a fire that started near the north fork of the American River burned up the side of the canyon.
The fire was reported to be 20 percent contained at 200 acres shortly before 10 p.m.
The fire, which began about 3:20 p.m., was on the east, or Foresthill side, of the river. As of early evening, it was moving toward Iowa Hill.
Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reported that 250 firefighters, six air tankers, five helicopters and 20 engines were battling the blaze. He said firefighters were making good progress with the equipment on scene.
The Placer County Sheriff's Department issued an evacuation order for residents of the Kings Hill Road area and broadcast a notice for residents within a one-mile radius of Iowa Hill to be ready to evacuate.
Evacuations were to remain in effect overnight, and shelter was available at the Foresthill Veterans Memorial Hall. Mike Fitch, a Placer County spokesman, said about 25 people planned to spend the night. Another evacuation center in Colfax was closed because there appeared to be little need for that location.
Berlant said the fire started in the area of Shirt Tail Canyon and Yankee Jims roads. Although the California Highway Patrol had received reports that it might have been started by fireworks, Berlant said investigators had not determined the cause.
With the high temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation, he said, it doesn't take long for a small fire to get out of hand. Berlant said 25 acres had burned by the time firefighters arrived.
For evacuation-related information, call the Placer County Office of Emergency Services at (530) 886-5310. The Foresthill Veterans Memorial Hall is at 24601 Harrison Road in Foresthill.