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Click or tap here for Tuesday’s updates on the Jones Fire.

The Latest (Tuesday, Aug. 18)

4:25 p.m.

There are new evacuation warnings for areas north of Excelsior Ditch Camp and Wet Hill roads to the South Yuba River Canyon, west of Rock Creek Road.

3 p.m.

The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services has ordered new evacuations for the area north of Highway 49 from Cement Hill Road west to Independence Trail.

8:30 a.m.

The Jones Fire in Nevada County has grown to 550 acres and is 5% contained. The fire has destroyed four homes and several outbuildings.

All evacuations are still in effect.

Original Story Below

NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – The Jones Fire burning in Nevada County has exploded in size, jumping from 40 acres Monday morning to 340 acres by the evening.

Roughly 1,500 homes have been evacuated and around just as many lost power, according to Cal Fire Division Chief Jim Mathias.

The fire started burning down in a canyon northwest of Nevada City and worked its way up over the ridge where it began threatening homes.

“I have never been more nervous about my house burning down because I live two miles away from here,” neighbor Matthew Backus told FOX40.

The blaze has residents who live in rural Nevada County on edge.

“Cal Fire just said that it’s swarming down there so it might come up this canyon,” said another neighbor named Glen.

Glen said he’s been keeping a close eye on the fire’s progress as burned up a steep ridge fueled by dry hot winds.

“I could see the tops of trees were catching and it was doing like a crown fire and then all of a sudden you could see a black, fat plume come through all the gray smoke,” Glen said.

Firefighters often had to wait for the flames to reach the top of the ridge before they could actually fight the fire due to the steepness of the ridge.

Division Chief Mathias says they hope to hold the fire south of the Yuba River, north of Newtown, west of Highway 49 and east of Jones Bar Road. He says they don’t expect the flames to reach Nevada City or Grass Valley.

Aircraft attacked the blaze from the air with some tankers having to make dive bomb maneuvers to get the retardant drops where they need to be.

Cal Fire officials have said they believe the Jones Fire was started by lightning early Monday morning.

“My mom said she woke up, heard the lightning strike, felt the lightning strike. Like she said the ground rumbled so it was definitely lightning,” Backus said.

Residents said they are trying to decide if they should get all their animals out.

“I got 19 lamas, geese, peacocks,” Glen said.

“And on that ridge, it’s mostly all farm animals, so it’s pretty scary,” Backus said. 

Mandatory evacuations are in progress for the following areas: Jones Bar Road, Nishinam Gulch Road, Yuba Crest Drive, McKitrick Ranch Road, Pau Hana Way, Little Bear Lane, Hoot Owl Road, Arctic Owl Road, Willo Wisp Court, Fenton Way, Woolman Lane, Toller Ridge Court, Rush Creek Way, Lost Ranch Way, Owl Creek Road, Yuba Ridge Drive, Red Tail Hawk Road, Kodama Road, Baron Owl Lane, Denmark Court, Holland Drive, Carli Way, Crooked Arrow Lane, John Barleycorn Road, Shoshoni Trail Court, Cavanaugh Lane, Lowden Lane, Apache Trail, Prince Rainer Way, Lois Lane, Monte Vista Drive, Jones Bar Road, Empress Road, Personeni Lane, Elizabeth.

Highway 49 is also closed from from 2.4 miles north of Nevada City at Newtown Road to 7 miles south of the Nevada and Yuba county line at Tyler Foote Crossing Road.

A spokesperson for the Grass Valley School District said all schools and programs will be closed Tuesday due to the fire. 

Temporary evacuation centers have been opened at Ready Springs School, Cottage Hill Elementary School and Cottage Hill Elementary School. Large animals can be taken to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

This is a developing story.