Ponderosa fire burns 23 square miles, threatens thousands

7:59 AM, Aug 21, 2012   |    comments
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MANTON, CA (AP) - A huge wildfire sparked by lightning has burned to the edge of three small Northern California towns, threatening thousands of homes as fearful residents sought safety miles away at an emergency shelter.

More than 1,400 firefighters were battling the Ponderosa Fire in rugged, densely forested terrain as it threatened 3,500 homes in the towns of Manton, Shingletown and Viola, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.

The fire has destroyed seven homes while blackening 23 square miles. It was just 5 percent contained after beginning Saturday.

The fire forced the closure of Highway 44 and other roads, and prompted the declaration of an emergency in Shasta County.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center in Redding. Wildfires are also burning in other areas of California and the West.

The Associated Press

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