California wildfire destroys 40 homes, forces 150 to evacuate

A massive 7,000 acre wildfire in California on the east side of the Sierra Nevada destroyed at least 40 homes and forced some 150 people out of their homes, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) said on Sunday as firefighters continued to battle the wind-driven fire.

The fire started on Friday afternoon near the east side of Highway 395 at the Sherwin Grade on the border of Inyo and Mono counties and is now 65 percent contained. The U.S. Forest Service, Paradise Fire Department, Inyo County Sheriff's Office, Mono County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol (CHP) and CalTrans are all on scene.

"The forward spread of the fire was stopped early Friday morning after erractic winds pushed the fire down into the communities of Paradise and Swall Meadows," CAL FIRE said in an update. "Evacuations still remain in effect as downed powerlines make re-entry hazardous for homeowners. Trees damaged by fire are being assessed and tagged as hazards for removal."

The brush fire spread rapidly when 50-75 miles per hour winds whipped through the wooded area in Inyo and Mono counties on Friday afternoon. Three injuries have been reported from the fire, and the cause of the fire is now under investigation, according to CAL FIRE.

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