Northern California wildfire threatens 500 buildings

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California Wildfires

A wildfire that erupted in Northern California forced evacuations as it threatened about 500 homes and other buildings on Tuesday, authorities said.

The Rices Fire erupted near the Yuba River in Nevada County at around 2pm local time and had spread to more than 500 acres (202 hectares) by nightfall, said Unit Chief Brian Estes, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The flames also threatened power lines, water delivery systems and a state park, he said.

The rural area is in the Sierra Nevada, north-east of Sacramento and about halfway between the state Capitol and the Nevada border.

Authorities earlier said the fire began with a burning building and the flames spread to nearby dry vegetation.

A helicopter drops water on the mountainside as the Rices Fire burns near French Corral, California

At an evening news conference, however, Mr Estes said he could not confirm reports that some buildings had been destroyed.

About 350 homes and other buildings were under evacuation orders, county Sheriff Shannan Moon said.

Firefighters fought the blaze on the ground and in the air, with aircraft making dozens of drops of water and fire retardant.

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