A fast-moving wildfire at the El Dorado-Amador county line has burned at least two structures and prompted the evacuation of homes along Highway 49 Friday.
The Sand Fire threatened 250 homes, forcing mandatory evacuations of Sand Ridge Road from Hwy. 49 to Ladies Valley Road, Cal Fire said. Reverse 911 calls were made to residents; evacuees were directed to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
Photos from Sky10 showed at least one home was consumed by flames. Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said the number of structures burned is expected to rise.
The California Highway Patrol said Sand Ridge Road is closed, but Hwy. 49 remains open.
Tolmachoff said the fire broke out around 4:50 p.m. Friday in a riverbed along the Amador and El Dorado county line, north of Plymouth and south of Placerville. She said the fire crossed the river into more rugged terrain, spreading to about 1,300 acres of brush and woodland.
The blaze is 20 percent contained and is burning toward the northeast and southeast. The fire sent a huge plume of smoke across the region.
"This thing roared out of the canyon like an October fire," El Dorado County Sheriff's Sgt Jim Byers said.
Firefighters with local departments are aiding Cal Fire as well as crews from Folsom, Cosumnes and Sacramento. The flames are being fought on the ground and with aircraft.
Tolmachoff said 500 personnel are battling the blaze. There are 55 engines, six helicopters and at least one air tanker at the scene of the Sand Fire. An inmate firefighter suffered a minor injury.
Crews are expected to be working the fire for some time because of its remote location and the abundance of dry fuel, Tolmachoff said.
Investigators are trying to determine whether a burned car found by the riverbed ignited the fire.