Record temperatures and extremely dry conditions fueled the King fire in El Dorado County, which grew to 2,500 acres by Sunday evening and was rapidly spreading.
The fire, which measured only 20 acres Saturday, now has threatened 500 homes and caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
“Conditions are awful,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “Because of the fuel in here after three years of drought, it’s burning really well.”
The steep terrain in the area is making fighting the fire difficult, she said.
Eight hundred firefighters are battling the blaze northeast of Pollock Pines, according to CDF officials. Six helicopters and eight aircraft tankers are attacking the blaze from the air. The fire was 10 percent contained at 7 p.m. Sunday.
One firefighter has been injured while fighting the wildland fire. No further details were available Sunday.
Mandatory evacuations were in place Sunday for Estates at Forebay Road, between King of the Mountain Road and Pony Express Trail, as well as all of White Meadows Road.
Voluntary evacuation advisories were in place for residents west of Forebay Road, from Blair Road to Pony Express Trail, as well as for Badger Hill Road, Marmot Road, Lucky Mine Road, Old Blair Mill Road, Apple Creek Court, Applemont Ranch Road, Chickaree Lane, Longs Creek Trail, Quick Silver Road, Quick Silver Court and Baltimore Road.
An evacuation center has been set up at Sierra Ridge Middle School, 2701 Amber Trail in Pollock Pines.
Tolmachoff’s advice to residents: “If you are in the path, get out and get out early. It’s moving fast.”
Schools will be closed Monday for the “safety of our children, staff and our families,” said a notice on the Pollock Pines Elementary School District website. Pinewood Elementary School, which is close to the blaze, is being used as a staging area for fire suppression equipment.
Dozens of roads also have been shut down because of the fire, according to Cal Fire officials.
The worsening blaze in El Dorado County caused officials to redirect equipment and manpower from another fire in Nevada County. The Dog Bar fire there consumed 155 acres, including two houses, before settling down Saturday night, Cal Fire officials said. Crews have that fire 30 percent contained and are making good progress in setting up containment lines, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
“There wasn’t a lot of fire activity Saturday night,” Berlant said. But Sunday afternoon, he said, fire crews “have really stopped the forward spread to it,” allowing for equipment to be diverted to El Dorado County.
The Dog Bar fire forced evacuation of several dozen homes Saturday in a forested area near the Nevada County community of Alta Sierra. Two homes and three outbuildings have been destroyed in the blaze. Evacuations were lifted late Saturday, but Dog Bar Road remained closed to nonresidents. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The fire in El Dorado County broke out near King of the Mountain Road in a forested and lightly populated area near Pollock Pines.