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Evacuation Orders Lifted for Fire Burning Near Valley Springs

VALLEY SPRINGS -- A fire burning in Calaveras County prompted evacuations on Wednesday afternoon. Those evacuations have since been lifted.

The fire began Wednesday afternoon at Quail Oaks Road and Oak Hill Drive near Valley Springs, according to Cal Fire, but officials say just one structure is immediately threatened.

The fire had burned 50 acres in the area, firefighters said. It is 55 percent contained.

A lot of property was damaged by the fire. No homes were destroyed, but cars, yard equipment and fences were torched by the flames.

“I saw the flames on the bushes over there, and that’s when I called my husband and my son," homeowner Josie Stamos explained. "I said 'hey you better get out.' And then the Sheriff came and of course that made it more clear."

Stamos is one of many grateful homeowners after a close call with the Quail Fire.

"Very close," said Stamos. "But I know that God works all things for good. I thank the Lord fist of all. And I thank all the firemen.”

The fire was started by a push mower, according to officials.

"This fire was caused by equipment use -- a push-behind lawn mower. So we'd like to remind everybody that when you are using power equipment, that you have all your proper safety gear, that you have a shovel at hand, and a fire extinguisher if you're using a riding lawnmower or some kind of grinding equipment," said Cal Fire spokesperson Emily Kilgore. "The responsible person for this fire was cited for an equipment-use-caused-fire allowing the fire to escape their control, and not having the proper tools within the law."