Fast-moving Plymouth fire hits El Dorado, Amador, California


A wildfire burns near the Story Winery in Plymouth on Friday as an air tanker drops retardant. Flames came as close as 200 yards to the winery.    Randall Benton

(SOURCE)   California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection crews, along with firefighters from throughout the region, are battling a fast-moving wildland fire that broke out in southern El Dorado County late Friday afternoon and quickly jumped the Cosumnes River into Amador County.

Within less than four hours, it had grown to more than 1,300 acres and was spreading eastward, forcing evacuations in sparsely populated rural areas of both counties. Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman, said Friday night at least two structures had been destroyed. She did not know whether they were homes or outbuildings.


A wild land fire burns near the Story winery in Plymouth, CA on Friday, July 25, 2014. Cal Fire and several local fire departments responded.   Randall Benton

Sgt. Jeff Leikauf of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said evacuations took place along Sand Ridge Road, east of Freshwater Lane. Leikauf said he did not know how many residences were affected, noting that this is an area of homes on large acreages. The El Dorado County Fairgrounds was opened to evacuees.

Suzon Hatley, a utility clerk with the city of Plymouth, said evacuations were in effect Friday night on a portion of Bell Road in Amador County. She was preparing to open City Hall at 9426 Main St. as an evacuation center when the Red Cross team en route to assist was diverted to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds instead, after the fire shifted direction. Hatley said City Hall would reopen to evacuees if necessary.

The blaze, dubbed the Sand fire, came within 200 yards of the Story Winery on Bell Road in Amador County before shifting direction.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something like this,” said Della Bradford, a winery employee.

Speaking by phone, Bradford had to shout to make herself heard over the roar of firefighting helicopters passing overhead. Fires in the area typically burn on the north side of the river, she said. This was the first time she could recall one jumping the river.

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