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More Homes Destroyed By Sand Fire In Amador, El Dorado Counties

Steve Yeater / AP

Steve Yeater / AP

6:30 P.M. Cal Fire announced the fire is at 85 percent containment and fire crews are strengthening the established containment lines and continuing mopping up further into the burned area. The rugged terrain and hot, dry condition continue to be a challenge for firefighters. Acreage reporting increased to 4,240 due to better mapping of the fire. All evacuation orders and road closures have been lifted.

The fire has destroyed 19 residential structures and 47 outbuildings. Damage assessment is ongoing. Resources are continuing to be released.

-- CAL FIRE Incidents

10 A.M. Cal Fire officials have made changes to evacuation orders.  

As of 9:00 a.m. today, the Evacuation Orders for Freshwater Rd., Lone Barn Rd., including Moco Canyon Rd., Bell Ranch Rd. and Twin Rivers Rd. have been lifted.
Painted Pony and Dwyer Rd., still remain under the current Evacuation Order.
Residents returning to the area may be required to show identification and proof of residency. CAL FIRE encourages residents returning to the area to drive safely and watch for fire equipment and firefighter activity within those affected areas.

-- CAL FIRE Incidents

7 A.M. (AP) -- Fire officials say crews found six more homes destroyed by a wildfire in Amador and El Dorado counties that led to evacuation orders for about 1,200 people before it was brought under control.

Nineteen homes and 48 outbuildings were determined to have been destroyed by the Sand Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. 

The fire was 80 percent contained as of Tuesday morning and holding at a little under 3,800 acres. Most of the evacuees were allowed to return home a day earlier.

State fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean says the continued progress against the fire has allowed officials to begin dispatching crews to other blazes. The fire is expected to be fully contained Friday.

Most of the 1,200 people driven to evacuate by the Sand Fire have been told they can safely return after a series of steady gains in the firefight.

More evacuee stories


The evacuees included Fred and Carolyn Shults, who had to flee the wildfire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento when billowing flames bore down on them.

On Monday at a Red Cross shelter, they hugged friends and neighbors when they heard from a firefighter friend that their home was still standing.

It was a welcome change from the weekend, when Caroline Shults scrolled through photos of the fire on her phone, hoping she wouldn't see her 100 apple trees or her home.

The couple has been wildfire conscious after several scares, ensuring they cleared vegetation. But the Sand fire, which officials trace to a hot car in dry grass, reminded them of the limits of preparation.

"Wildfires are so uncontrollable, and people can start them so easily without knowing what they're doing," said Fred Shults.

They also didn't anticipate how quickly they would have to evacuate, vowing to keep a list of items to leave with next time.

Laurel Fulton, a 66-year-old fellow evacuee, knows that lesson well after leaving behind an obstinate horse.

"When the sheriff is banging on your window yelling `Get out now, get out now,' you don't have much of a choice," Fulton said.

Fulton also said the fire was so hot and so fast the sand along a nearby river had burned to glass and she saw ashes the size of dollar bills. She also managed to rescue 4 dogs, a cat and her other horse. She said her neighbor stayed behind and has been reporting that her horse is OK.

Only a small number of evacuees in roughly a square mile patch of land remained out their homes.

Crews held the fire to a little under 6 square miles, increasing containment to 75 percent Monday, state fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said.

"We're not going to get complacent, but it's looking very good," McLean said.

A private drone trying to record footage of the fire nearly hindered efforts to attack the flames from the air Monday, state fire officials said. The man controlling the drone was told to stop it because of the potential danger to firefighting planes. He was not cited.

The following areas remain under an Evacuation Order:

  • Flat Creek Rd
  • Brinkwood Rd
  • Painted Pony Rd
  • Higgins Rd
  • Twin Rivers Rd and all connecting roads

6 A.M.

Many evacuees are home, and firefighters have made more progress against a wildfire that's been burning in Eldorado and Amador counties since Friday.  The "Sand Fire" is holding steady at 3,800 acres, and CalFire says it's 75 percent contained.

Over the weekend, 515 homes were evacuated, and yesterday, hundreds of evacuees were allowed to return to their houses. There are still a few evacuations in effect this morning, and CalFire says it hopes to be able to lift those today.

The fire destroyed 13 homes and 38 other structures. CalFire expects full containment by Friday.

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