Sierra Nevada wildfire threatens small rural communities

A Sierra Nevada wildfire destroyed four structures and was a threat to more than 500 homes and other buildings, California authorities said Wednesday.

The Rices Fire grew to 769 acres near the Yuba River in Nevada County and there was no containment, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

The small communities of Birchville, Sweetland, French Corral, Bridgeport, Rices Crossing, and the Buttermilk area were under evacuation orders, Cal Fire said.

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The agency did not specify the types of structures that were destroyed but noted that damage assessment was underway in the burn area.

The fire erupted Tuesday afternoon and made wind-driven runs through critically dry vegetation and drought-stressed trees. Firefighters fought the blaze on the ground and in the air, with aircraft making drops of water and fire retardant.

Authorities said the fire began with a burning building and the flames spread to vegetation.

On the central coast, the 325-acre Camino Fire in San Luis Obispo County was 30% contained and no structures were threatened, Cal Fire said. Investigators determined it was ignited by a vehicle’s catalytic converter.