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Rices Fire leads to evacuations in Nevada, 700 firefighters responding

(NEVADA COUNTY, Calif.) — At least 700 firefighters are battling the Rices Fire in northern California on Wednesday, where hundreds of residents have been evacuated from their homes, officials said.

The fire, which has burned 769 acres and is 0% contained as of Wednesday morning, has led to mandatory and warning evacuation orders, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office. It has impacted 355 homes and other buildings in the area, according to local officials.

The fire is expected to be fully contained on July 1, according to a Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit report on Wednesday.

There are no reported civilian injuries, and one reported firefighter injury.

Evacuation warnings and orders remained active for 12 zones on Tuesday night, according to police.

“Today, the fire exhibited active fire behavior with wind driven runs and single tree spotting and long range spotting. It is burning in dormant brush, hardwood slash and brush,” a statement from Cal Fire said on Wednesday.

Steep and rugged terrain, critically dry and receptive fuel beds, and drought have led to the continued fire activity, authorities said.

Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brian Estes said the fire has been burning to the north and northeast towards the Yuba River drainage.

“If it does go into the over the Yuba River drainage and crosses that drainage that crosses into Yuba County from Nevada County then we could have some tremendous impacts to the communities of Dobbins, Oregon House and Brownsville,” Estes said in a press conference on Tuesday evening.

The fire began around 2 p.m. on Tuesday off Rices Crossing Road and Cranston Road, according to the Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit.

Four structures were confirmed to be destroyed as of Wednesday morning. An additional 500 buildings are threatened along with South Yuba State Park, officials said.

Estes said the Rices fire is already a massive operation and it’s vital to contain the fire before it spreads further.

“I think we’re going to see a trend for Northern California to start to see more large fires, and so we have a long summer ahead of us,” Estes said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Cal Fire.

The Madelyn Helling Library is open as a shelter for residents forced to evacuate and animals can be taken to the Nevada County Fairgrounds for shelter, according to the sheriff’s office.

“We make sure that we have lots of law enforcement personnel in the areas to make sure that the people that are in that area are supposed to be there,” Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said at a Tuesday evening conference. “We want to make sure that we don’t have any looting.”

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