Wildfire threatens hundreds of homes in California Gold Rush-era boom town

Smoke from fast-growing wildfire obscures sun outside Weaverville, Calif. on August 24, 2015 KHSL-TV

Last Updated Aug 25, 2014 9:17 AM EDT

WEAVERVILLE, Calif. - Crews working through the night in steep terrain are building containment lines around a wildfire near the rural Northern California town of Weaverville that forced the evacuation of about 200 homes and is threatening about 500 additional residences, authorities said Monday.

CBS Affiliate KHSL reports that extremely steep terrain and winds are making containment difficult for firefighters.

CalFire spokeswoman Cris Hartman said early Monday that the fire is presently 25 percent contained.

She said the fire has burned a little more than one square mile, or 650 acres, of timber and brush about 2 miles west of the Gold Rush-era boomtown, but the flames did not spread overnight.

Hartman said the blaze, sparked Sunday afternoon near Highway 299, has damaged one structure, likely a barn or a large outbuilding.

The fire was also threatening about 20 businesses and facilities, including the town airport and high school, said Lilly Wyatt, a spokeswoman with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

Officials say daylight will bring increased risks as gusty winds and dry conditions return.

Wyatt, whose office was coordinating the response to the fire, said about 380 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Fire officials said early Monday that a shelter for evacuees was being moved later in the day from Weaverville Elementary School to the Baptist Church.

KRCR-TV reports the fire temporarily forced the closure of the highway, and school was canceled for Monday.

Weaverville is at the base of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area in Trinity County in far northern California. The Gold Rush-era boom town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Comments