NEVADA COUNTY – A fire along the Yuba River in Nevada County prompted evacuations Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The Rices Fire was reported around 2 p.m. near Rices Crossing Road, just north of the south fork of the Yuba River, Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brian Estes said at a news conference.
As of 7:35 p.m., the fire covered 510 acres and was 0% contained, according to Cal Fire.
Estes said the fire had destroyed an unknown number of structures and was threatening more than 500 others. The fire was also threatening water delivery systems, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. high-tension power lines and the South Yuba River State Park.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries.
Evacuation orders were issued for the Birchville, Sweetland, French Corral, Buttermilk, Bridgeport and Rice’s Crossing areas, said Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon.
Estes said crews were working to keep the fire from dropping into the Yuba River drainage and crossing over into Yuba County, where it could have “tremendous impacts” on the communities of Dobbins, Challenge-Brownsville and Oregon House.
“Getting good solid containment on this fire and not having an issue that’s going to run into July is the no. 1 concern,” he said. “The second concern is that Yuba River drainage. It’s got tremendous fire history in it.”
The last major fire in the drainage occurred in 2009 and burned more than 6,000 acres, Estes said.
The Rices Fire was burning in brush, oak woodland and heavy timber in a “ridge-top environment,” Estes said. Conditions were dry with temperatures topping 98 degrees.
About 350 personnel were assigned to the fire Tuesday, said Estes, who expected the number to double Wednesday.
Estes said the blaze was one of the few larger fires burning in the region – for now.
“I think we’re going to see a trend for Northern California to start to see more large fires,” he said. “And we have a long summer ahead of us.”
Check back for updates.