Fires

Explosive fire closes Highway 49, prompts evacuations in Tuolumne County

Firefighters are battling an 850-acre blaze that broke out Monday near the intersection of highways 49 and 120 in Tuolumne County.
Firefighters are battling an 850-acre blaze that broke out Monday near the intersection of highways 49 and 120 in Tuolumne County. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office

A fast-spreading fire off Highway 49 in Tuolumne County closed a portion of the highway and prompted mandatory evacuations Monday afternoon.

What officials have dubbed the Marshes Fire started about 12:15 p.m. off Highway 49 and Marshes Flat Road, north of Don Pedro Reservoir, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

It grew from 40 acres at lunchtime to 400 acres by early evening, and a short time later had more than doubled in size with zero containment.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reported just before 8 p.m. that 850 acres had burned, and the fire was spreading to the south and west. No homes were in the path of the fire at the time, the Sheriff’s Office said.

On its website Monday nihgt, Cal Fire continued to report that there was an “immediate threat to structures.” Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Moccasin Estates subdivision, with advisory evacuations for the Hetch Hetchy area.

Highway 49 was closed south of Moccasin to the Mariposa County line.

Fire crews hoped to cut containment lines through the night and into the early morning, officials said.

An evacuation center has been established at the Hacienda at 5182 Fuentes de Flores in La Grange.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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