Crews Battling 200-Acre Fire in Amador County, Residents Evacuated

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AMADOR COUNTY --

Four helicopters, eight fire crews and a few dozen engines fought the flames of the Camanche Fire in Amador county for nearly five hours.

The blaze began around 3:00 p.m., just a few miles north of the Camanche Reservoir in Jackson, and quickly gained momentum, according to Cal Fire officials, spreading to 200 acres by evening.

"This is an area that's conducive to air attack. The retardant is very effective in grass. The fire seems to be staying in the grass and in the brush," said Brice Bennett, a Cal Fire PIO.

Evacuation orders were mandatory for the China Gulch area. Fire officials say thankfully there aren't many homes in the vicinity of the fire, however a handful of structures burned to the ground.

Perhaps no one was more ready for this fire than Leland Ferrer, a local resident who's seen five fires near his home in the last 15 years.

He got what he calls a paint job from Cal Fire, after helicopters poured flame retardant on his home. As Ferrer cleaned the pink residue from his driveway, he pointed out that his grass is cut, brush removed-he even has an emergency exit route if it comes to it.

"Just make sure you protect your property as far as you can go. And then go some more," said Ferrer, "get all the grass cut down for maybe three hundred feet around the house. They know that  I 'm pretty well secure."

But Cal Fire officials say when twenty mile an hour winds combine with the foothill's dry grass, sometimes all the preparation in the world still won't stop aggressive flames.

"Here we are in the beginning of summer. We have a warming trend. All the fuel the local area grass is very dry. We have a light wind which allowed this fire to grow very quickly," said Bennett.

As crews continued to contain the Camanche Fire, it was a stark reminder that fire season is now upon us. Crews finished battling the flames for the night after 10:00 pm, at which point the fire was about 40 percent contained. Officials say it is no longer a threat to any homes, structures or people at this point. Fire investigators are still looking into what caused the fire.