600-Acre California Blaze Forces Evacuations

COLFAX, Calif. (AP) -- A 600-acre fire in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada prompted the evacuation of 250 people, one of several fires around California that have scorched thousands of acres and driven people from their homes.

Two firefighters were injured and one building was destroyed by the fire, which was half contained by Monday morning, fire officials said.

Firefighters were mopping up the remains of three other wildfires that destroyed two homes and burned more than 4,000 acres in Calavaras County. Arsonists started two of the three fires, authorities said, and the third was caused by a car with mechanical problems.

The largest fire burned than 3,400 acres near Copperopolis and forced about 210 people to flee their homes.

More than 300 firefighters were working against a fire that started Sunday afternoon on the slopes of Mount Hamilton near San Jose. About 370 acres have been burned but no structures were destroyed. Authorities are still investigating what caused the fire.

In the San Francisco Bay area, authorities are blaming a discarded cigarette for sparking a fire near Hayward. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon in an area of thick brush and eucalyptus trees, damaging the roofs of several homes before it was contained, according to the Hayward Fire Department.

A 350-acre wildfire that burned through chaparral and forced people to evacuate dozens of homes in Riverside County was fully contained Monday morning, authorities said. The fire had threatened the tiny desert community of Anza, but residents were allowed to return Sunday night.

``It's not totally out, but there are no big plumes of smoke in our area now. They're getting it under control,'' said James Johnson, whose brother's home was in the fire's path.

Elsewhere on Monday, officials in north-central Washington state evacuated 38 homes near Dryden after a wildfire grew to about 150 acres. The fire started Sunday but officials said the cause was not yet known.

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