Electra Fire triples in size overnight, threatens homes

The Electra Fire that had more than tripled in size overnight Monday is now 5% contained, Cal Fire officials said Tuesday night.

The blaze, which began Monday night in Amador County, is burning in rugged terrain along Electra Road near highway 49. It grew from less than 1,000 acres to 3,034 acres, forcing evacuations. By 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the fire was at 3,900 acres.

Plumes of smoke could be seen across the Sacramento region, and helicopters were brought in to battle the flames from the sky.

The fire is currently threatening about 100 homes along the Amador and Calaveras county line. In all, more than 1,000 structures are threatened. At least one first responder has been injured. 

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The fire erupted on the Fourth of July at a recreation area packed with people. Between 85 to 100 celebrating at a river were forced to take shelter at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility. Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman said they were safely evacuated. Evacuations are in place for parts of Amador and Calaveras counties. Redman suggested fireworks or a barbeque as a possible fire cause.

“Last night, the humidity came up, put it in check pretty good, but we have a fair amount of open line,” said Ryan Wagner, Battalion Chief of U.S. Forest Service. “What we’re doing is lighting a backfire to kind of consume the vegetation, so during the day today, if this were to heat up, and get the usual south/southwest winds, doesn’t have a chance to burn pass our control line.”

Cal OES is supporting the battle against the fire by deploying more than 10 fire strike teams and providing mutual aid with local law enforcement to coordinate road closures, check points and other public safety needs. They are also working on setting up emergency shelters for displaced residents and animals. 

This fire is also said to be the cause of a power outage to more than 15,000 PG&E customers in Amador County. Cal OES said they are working with the utility on restoring power where it is safe to do so.

Associated Press contributed to this story.