Calif. Residents Flee New Wildfires

Calif. Residents Flee New Wildfires

LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- A fast-moving wildfire threatened scores of homes at a Northern California lake community that was evacuated because of a devastating nearby wildfire last year.

Authorities issued four evacuation orders for an unknown number of homes Saturday as the wildfire south of Lower Lake, a town of about 1,300, spread to at least 600 acres.

Firefighters aided by water- and retardant-dropping air tankers were trying to keep the fire away from homes north of the lake, said Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze is 15 percent contained.

Blankenship said the fire was spreading rapidly because of parched conditions brought on by California's historic drought.

"The fuels are extremely dry," Blankenship said. "This is the time of year when everybody has to be extra cautious."

Lower Lake was evacuated nearly a year ago by a nearby wildfire that ravaged most of rural Lake County and parts of Napa County about 90 miles north of San Francisco. It killed four people, destroyed more than 1,300 homes, burned 120 square miles and was considered California's third most destructive wildfire.

A report issued this week concluded that the fire was ignited by faulting wiring in a hot tub.

In central California, a wildfire that broke out Saturday afternoon forced the evacuation of 135 homes south of Lake Nacimiento, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's office said.

The fire has burned at least 1 square mile, with full containment expected Sunday, Cal Fire Chief Tom McEwen told KSBY-TV.

(KA)