REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters gained the upper hand Tuesday on a wildfire in Northern California that destroyed 30 homes and forced about 600 people out of their homes, fire officials said.
The Clover Fire broke out Monday near the rural community of Happy Valley in Shasta County and was quickly fanned by gusty winds, growing to nearly 11 square miles. However, lighter winds Tuesday allowed firefighters to focus on corralling the blaze.
"The fire is not doing much and that is what we call very good news," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Witesman said.
Officials said that at its peak, the flames spread at 500 acres an hour.
Some residents were given just minutes to evacuate as the fire jumped roads and engulfed residences, the Record Searchlight of Redding reported (http://bit.ly/1ecnuvu ).
Ty Romero, who lost his home, told the newspaper that he and his uncle quickly loaded a truck and fled as flames approached. They took two dogs but a third was missing.
"It wasn't even 10 minutes," he said. "I know a lot of the houses in the area burned."
Along with the homes, 50 outbuildings were destroyed and another 30 structures, mostly homes, were damaged, Witesman said. Although 300 homes were no longer threatened by the fire, residents of those homes were not allowed back yet because of the danger of downed power lines.
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