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Favourable weather helps fight against California forest fire

JACKSON, CALIFORNIA (AP) – Favourable weather on Wednesday aided the fight against a wildfire in California’s Gold Country that has forced evacuations in two counties.

The Electra Fire had burned 16.6 square kilometres of rural terrain but it was now 40 per cent contained without any buildings burned, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported.

In addition, about 17 per cent of the fire was declared controlled, meaning there wasn’t any smoke or any hotspots within the fire perimeter in that area, Cal Fire said.

“Humidity recovery in the early morning hours moderated fire activity,” Cal Fire said.

Some evacuation orders were lifted.

The fire erupted on Monday afternoon in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, forcing evacuations in Amador neighbouring Calaveras counties.

However, some Amador County evacuations were downgraded to warnings on Wednesday.

Cal Fire said the number of threatened structures remained at 1,217 but there were no reports of structures destroyed or damaged. One firefighter has been injured.

The National Weather Service said overnight infrared satellite imagery showed a “waning heat signature” from the fire as relative humidity levels reached 75 per cent to 90 per cent and northerly winds were generally light. Westerly breezes were expected by afternoon.

The fire started at a recreation area along a river where people were celebrating July Fourth.

The cause remained under investigation, but Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman has said the location could suggest fireworks or a barbeque as a cause.

Firefighters trying to keep the Electra Fire from reaching homes in the Pine Acres community of Amador County, California. PHOTO: AP