New Evacuations for Communities Near California Forest Fire | U.S. News®

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JACKSON, Calif. (AP) — Evacuation orders were expanded Tuesday for remote California communities near a wildfire that may have been sparked by fireworks or a barbecue on the Fourth of July in a mountainous region that’s a top tourism destination.

The Electra Fire in Sierra Nevada Gold Country broke out Monday afternoon and tripled in size to more than 4.7 square miles (12.2 square kilometers) by Tuesday.

“The rate of spread isn’t what it was like yesterday, but it is still spreading,” said Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman. He said firefighters were working to keep flames confined to unpopulated canyon areas.

The fire started at a recreation area that was packed with people, forcing 85 to 100 celebrating the holiday at a river to take shelter at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility, Redman said. All were later safely evacuated.

Redman said the cause of the fire was not known, but that it started in the Vox Beach area of the North Fork Mokelumne River. He said that could suggest fireworks or a barbecue as a potential cause.

Cal Fire activated an incident management team for the fire. The teams “are made up of trained personnel who provide operational management and support to large-scale, expanding incidents,” Cal Fire said.

One firefighter from the local fire protection district suffered burn injuries, Redman said.

Several other small fires were burning in the state.

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