Nevada County – A fire along the Yuba River in Nevada County prompted evacuations Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brian Estes said at a news conference that the Rice Fire was reported near Rice Crossing Road, north of the south fork of the Yuba River, around 2 p.m.
According to Cal Fire, as of 7:35 p.m., the fire was spread over 510 acres and was brought under control by 0%.
Estes said the fire had destroyed an unknown number of structures and threatened more than 500 others. The fire also threatened water distribution systems, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company high-tension power line and South Yuba River State Park.
There were no immediate reports of anyone being injured.
Nevada County Sheriff Shannon Moon said evacuation orders had been issued for the Birchville, Sweetland, French Coral, Buttermilk, Bridgeport and Rice Crossing areas.
Estes said crews were working to prevent the fire from falling into the Yuba River drainage and crossing into Yuba County, where it could have had a “tremendous effect” on the communities of Dobbins, Challenge-Brownsville and Oregon House. .
“Getting good solid control on this fire and running into July is not a problem. 1 concern,” he said. “The other concern is the Yuba River drainage. It has a tremendous history of fire.”
Estes said the last major fire in the drainage was in 2009 and burned more than 6,000 acres.
Estes said Rice was burning in a “ridge-top environment” in fire brush, oak woodland and heavy wood. Conditions were dry with the temperature rising above 98 degrees.
Estes said about 350 personnel were assigned to the fire on Tuesday, which expected the number to double on Wednesday.
Estes said the fire was one of the few large fires to burn in the area — for now.
“I think we’re going to see a trend for Northern California to see more large fires,” he said. “And we have a long summer ahead of us.”
Check back for updates.