Butte Fire Grows to Nearly 65,000 Acres

A wildfire in Northern California grew explosively Friday, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from rural communities, destroying six homes, threatening thousands more, and prompting a state-of-emergency declaration from the governor, reports The Associated Press.

“It’s expanding like a balloon,” state fire spokeswoman Nancy Longmore said. “It’s moving very fast. There’s many homes threatened. … This fire is extremely dangerous.”

The fire that had only burned about a single square mile Thursday morning had surged to 101 square miles by Friday evening. It was 5 percent contained.

At one point, the fire was bearing down on the 2,700 residents of San Andreas, prompting an evacuation order for the entire town 60 miles southeast of Sacramento. But the fire changed direction, and the order was called off a short time later, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

“The fire was quickly approaching the community,” Berlant said. “This fire is very dynamic and changing different directions with the topography. … That makes it very unpredictable, and with the exponential growth, we’re seeing a lot of danger not only to residents in the path of this fire but to our own firefighters, as well.”

San Andreas residents were told they still need to be prepared to evacuate.

Homes from smaller surrounding towns were under evacuation orders, with at least 460 people checking in at evacuation centers set up for the fire.

One of those evacuation centers was at the San Andreas Town Hall, which itself ha

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