Calaveras County fire comes close to several homes

CALAVERAS COUNTY, Calif. - A raging wildfire in Calaveras County burned more than 100 acres and threatened several homes Sunday.

As of 9 p.m., the Oak Fire had burned about 150 acres and was 65-percent contained.

Crews with Cal Fire spent the evening reinforcing their lines around the fire to keep it from spreading and preventing any further evacuations.

"It was so overwhelming," Pete Rodrigues detailed. He was one of the people who was evacuated from his home just after Noon. "There was flame and smoke coming off the top of the ridge and I'd say within 10 to 15 minutes, it just came down towards the house," Rodrigues said.

The flames came within feet of Rodrigues' 30-acre lot. He grabbed his wife and dog and left to safer area.

More than 300 firefighters from multiple agencies spent the evening cutting and knocking down some of the embers.

Officials say the hot temperatures and windy conditions helped fuel the flames but their preliminary investigation suggests this was an equipment-caused fire.

"Somebody was using some type of mechanical equipment out in the afternoon in the dry grass," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mario Hernandez revealed.

Close to 10 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes in this rural area of Calaveras County.

One out-building was burned, as were a couple vehicles.

The evacuation orders were lifted just after 7 p.m.

Fire officials said residents need to be cautions as the summer months pick up.

"Particularly with the dry conditions we have, please don't be using power equipment," Hernandez said. Residents were glad crews were able to get an upper hand on the fire and return home.


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