Wildfire burning near Gold-Rush boomtown, threatening 150 homes

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A fast-growing wildfire in Northern California has forced the evacuation of about 150 homes near of the historic town of Weaverville, about 250 miles north of San Francisco.

Crews working in steep terrain were building containment lines around a wildfire that chased people from about 200 homes near the California Gold Rush-era boomtown of Weaverville.

CalFire spokeswoman Cris Hartman said early Monday that the fire was 25 percent contained.

Firefighters worked through the night to keep the flames from spreading. The fire has burned a little more than 1 square mile, or 650 acres, of timber and brush about 2 miles west of town.

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"The flames laid pretty low last night and they were able to make some good progress," Hartman said.

State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant says the fire was sparked Sunday afternoon near a highway west of Weaverville. It rapidly grew to a little more than 1 square mile, or 650 acres.

Berlant said gusty winds and extremely dry conditions were fueling the flames.

He said 150 homes north of the town were threatened by the fire.

Firefighters were hampered by the winds and the steep terrain.

The fire, sparked Sunday afternoon near Highway 299, damaged one structure, likely a barn or a large outbuilding, Hartman said.

About 400 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Fire officials said a shelter for evacuees was being moved later in the day from Weaverville Elementary School to the Baptist church.

KRCR-TV reported the fire temporarily forced the closure of the highway, and school was canceled for Monday.

Weaverville is at the base of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area in Trinity County. The Gold Rush-era boomtown is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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