May 26, 2014

Evacuations under way as Mariposa fire grows to 500 acres

A fire broke out near Lake McClure on Monday afternoon, and quickly spread.

A fire broke out near Lake McClure on Monday afternoon, and quickly spread.

As of 8:15 p.m., the fire, originally estimated at 20 acres at 3:33 p.m., had grown to at least 500 acres, with no percentage of the fire contained, according to Cal Fire.

Roughly 100 structures were threatened, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. Monday evening, officials started evacuating roughly 100 homes in the Hunters Valley area, he said.

Smoke was visible into Stanislaus County, near Turlock Lake. Air tankers were called in to assist ground crews in fighting the blaze.

The blaze has been dubbed the Hunters fire because of its proximity to Hunters Valley Road, east of Lake McClure.

With California undergoing two straight years of drought, fire officials have been warning people to take extra care around the dry brush that covers much of the foothills.

The recent hot weather and low humidity have led to even more dangerous conditions. Though it’s early in the year for wildfires, state fire officials said with the drought, wildfire season never ended last year.

The cause of the fire had not been determined Monday evening.

Firefighters have already been dealing with large blazes in other parts of the state. A strike team from Stanislaus County and firefighters from Merced County assisted in battling fires in San Diego.

Several other fires have been reported in Southern California this spring, and a fire that broke out in Lake County on Sunday grew to 175 acres before it was reported to be 95 percent contained Monday evening.

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