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Foothill fires destroy at least one home in El Dorado County, prompt evacuations

Watch 14 days of wildfire smoke cover California

From July 25 through August 7 California has been covered with smoke from wildfires visible from space in these NASA images.
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From July 25 through August 7 California has been covered with smoke from wildfires visible from space in these NASA images.

Two wildfires described as spreading at a dangerous rate of speed broke out Wednesday afternoon in El Dorado County destroyed at least one home and forced evacuations from two rural neighborhoods, while a third that erupted in Placer County northwest of Roseville burned 1,000 acres, officials say.

The Bumper Fire in El Dorado County southwest of Diamond Springs had burned 67 acres and was 80 percent contained by about 9:30 p.m. after air tankers and helicopters helped subdue it. The blaze began just before 2 p.m. and forced evacuations along China Hill Road, Bumper Road, Spice Lane and Marrybelle Lane, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said.

“We are receiving MANY calls on evacuation questions,” the sheriff’s office said on its Facebook page and urged residents to sign up for its emergency notification service.

“PLEASE sign up for our Code Red service at

Cal Fire said it dispatched very large air tankers to that fire, which was burning brush and timber and posed an immediate threat to lives and structures.

A second fire, the Omega Fire near Pilot Hill, had burned 80 acres by 8 p.m. and was 10 percent contained after destroying one home, fire officials said. The fire forced mandatory evacuations on Pilot View Drive, north of Pilot View Court, and air tankers were being sent there with orders not to divert to other blazes because of the extreme risk to life and property, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean said.

“This fire is romping, it’s too close to populated areas,” McLean said in midafternoon.

An evacuation center for people fleeing both fires was opened at the Firefighters Memorial Hall at 3734 China Garden Way in Diamond Springs, but had attracted only one resident by late Wednesday.

Steve Vignali, 67, said he fled his home on Bumper Road after seeing and smelling plumes of smoke, and listened to police who told him to evacuate.

“It’s so close that the hairs on your arm start standing up when you see it,” said Vignali, who brought his chocolate lab Missy to the evacuation center. “It’s pretty scary.”

Eileen Flatgard of the El Dorado County Emergency Medical Services Agency was helping run the evacuation center, and thinks many evacuees were remaining near their houses to see if the flames reach their property.

“A lot of people are still at work or hanging out, just watching” the fire, she said.

In Placer County, firefighters brought quick containment to the 700-acre Sunset Fire northwest of Roseville near Sunset Boulevard West and South Brewer Road.

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