New wildfire sends residents scrambling in Butte County

A vegetation fire ignited in Butte County on Tuesday and quickly grew to 25 acres, spurring evacuation orders for nearby residents for about an hour.

The fire, dubbed the Fourteenth fire, began just after noon near Grand Avenue and 14th Street in the community of Thermalito, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter.

By 12:15 p.m., officials had issued urgent orders telling residents to to leave, with the Butte County Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection saying that structures were threatened.

“It’s burning mostly in grass and brush, but grass fires can move and grow really quickly,” said Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart, noting that at least 10 engines, four water tenders and a bulldozer were working to quench the flames.

The evacuation orders and warnings were lifted around 1 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said, with residents allowed to return to their homes.

An image of the burgeoning fire captured by PG&E cameras showed a massive plume of black smoke rising into the air shortly after it ignited. Officials declared forward progress stopped around 1:15 p.m.

Fast-moving fires are becoming more frequent amid the state’s bone-dry vegetation — which has been exacerbated by the recent heat waves and drought, wildfire experts have said.

A much larger fire, the Dixie fire, is already burning in Butte County, but Carhart said that blaze was moving away from the Fourteenth fire.

The Dixie fire on Tuesday was at more than 60,000 acres and only 15% contained.

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