usatoday Nearly 1,500 firefighters Monday evening battled a rapidly spreading fire in the steep forests east of Sacramento, one of 11 major wildfires burning in California.
The King Fire in El Dorado County swept through an estimated 8,600 acres, a jump from the 3,900 acres reported earlier in the day, and containment dropped to 5% from 10% as the fire spread in the high heat. The fire is located in a canyon of the south fork of the American River, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines.
The King Fire caused 160 mandatory evacuations. Thousands of Californians have been forced to flee wildfires burning across the state in the past several days, including one in Northern California, near Mt. Shasta, that fire officials said quickly damaged or destroyed 100 structures Monday.
Hundreds of firefighters were trying to contain that fire, which ignited Monday afternoon near the town of Weed in Siskyou County, about 10 miles from Mount Shasta. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said more than 300 acres were scorched and more than 100 structures damaged or destroyed in just a few hours.
An evacuation center was set up at the county fairgrounds in Yreka, and a section of Interstate 5 was shut down for a time because of the fire.
Fanned by high winds, the fire burned a Catholic church and damaged a lumber mill. Sheriff's deputies went door-to-door to evacuate the town and nearby Carrick and Lake Shastina.
Firefighters are battling at least 11 major fires in the Golden State, where hot, dry weather has exacerbated conditions caused by a record drought. In addition to destroying homes and forests, the wildfires have been spewing unhealthy smoke into the air, prompting air-quality alerts in portions of the state sweltering under high temperatures and low humidity.