Three firefighters have been injured in a Central California wildfire that has burned through more than 2 square miles in two days, officials said Tuesday.
State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said that one of the three is an inmate firefighter who was cut by a chain saw. Berlant describes the injury as moderate. He said the other two firefighters suffered minor injuries.
The Hunters Fire started Monday and quickly spread to the dry brush in the steep foothills of Mariposa County east of Lake McClure.
The fire was 20 percent contained, and Berlant said more than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze on the ground. Air tankers and helicopters are being used to attack the flames from above.
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Officials on Tuesday began urging about 50 residents in the area to evacuate from their homes.
The fire, fueled by dry brush, was burning in steep terrain that crews were having difficulty reaching. Temperatures also rose into the 90s with winds up to 20 mph, adding to the challenge.
"This fire is burning like it would in summer with the dry conditions we've been experiencing,'' Berlant said.
One home was destroyed by fire Monday, Berlant said, adding that the cause remains under investigation.
Up to 100 homes are potentially threatened, but the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office notified about 50 residents in immediate danger, urging them to evacuate. First, residents were called by phone and then deputies knocked on doors in person, said Kristie Mitchell, a department spokeswoman.
Mitchell said she didn't know how many left their homes. "If they want to leave or not, that is up to them,'' she said.
Meanwhile, a fire burning in and around Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona continued to grow in size even though firefighters have established a containment line around all of it.
The so-called Slide Fire between Flagstaff and Sedona increased in size to 32 square miles Tuesday and continued to grow.
Firefighters spotted a small and possibly historic cabin while conducting a burnout operation on a steep side in the area of Oak Creek Canyon. The crew removed debris from around the cabin and placed a layer of protective fabric around it.
Investigators who are trying to determine what sparked the human-caused fire on May 20 said they have received about 80 tips, but it could take months to pinpoint exactly how it began.