Firefighters worked Friday to contain a fire in Amador County north of Ione, according to Cal Fire. As of 7:34 p.m., acreage was reported at 840, but the agency later tweeted a decrease to 790 acres "due to better mapping."
The Irish Fire, off Irish Hill Road and Carbondale Road, is 50 percent contained as of Saturday morning after "forward spread stopped" Friday night, according to a Cal Fire tweet. Cal Fire spokesman Brice Bennett said on Friday afternoon that the fire had spread at a "critical rate of spread."
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents of the Willow Creek Ranch Estates, Cal Fire tweeted. An evacuation center has been set up at Ione Junior High School, 450 S. Mill St.
Evacuees were seen driving along Willow Creek Road away from the fire with their animals and livestock while helicopters flew nearby dropping water on the flames, which reportedly jumped the road and are spreading east.
Terri Morgan, who lives on Tonzi Road west of Highway 124, said she noticed how close the smoke was to her home and heard that a neighborhood nearby was being evacuated so she decided to move herself, her family and her dog to the evacuation center.
"It feels like a war zone over there, especially with all those airplanes and helicopters," Morgan said. "Especially knowing you could lose everything."
Cal Fire's incident command center is at Demartini Road north of Highway 16. Animals can be brought to the Amador County Fairgrounds, according to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman.
No buildings have been damaged or destroyed, Bennett said.