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Modoc County fire forces evacuations

Residents of the rural community of Day were moving out Thursday afternoon as flames from a 2,500-acre fire prompted the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office to issue a mandatory evacuation notice.

Sparked by lightning Wednesday afternoon, the blaze doubled in size when erratic midday winds shifted, driving flames toward Day, which is in southwestern Modoc County north of McArthur.

Widow Valley Road residents, north of Widow Mountain, were also advised to vacate their homes in the face of the expanding fire, which was 5 percent contained by late Thursday afternoon.

The 150 firefighters battling the fire were working in mixed brush and heavy timber, said Jeff Fontana, a spokesman for the Susanville Interagency Fire Center.

A separate fire burning near Bald Mountain on Lassen National Forest Land had blackened 380 acres by late Thursday afternoon. Heavy brush and steep terrain created conditions that could cause the fire to spread, Fontana said.

The fire is not threatening structures or private lands, he said.

Elsewhere in northeastern California crews were working to quell numerous small blazes started by lightning storms on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.