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Fast-Moving Blazes Race Through Northern California

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Image: Firefighters protect an evacuated home while the "Sand Fire" burns behind, near Plymouth, California
Firefighters protect an evacuated home while the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire" burns behind, near Plymouth, California July 26, 2014. The fire, which started Friday, has burned 5 homes, 1300 acres, and is 20 percent contained, local media reported.MAX WHITTAKER / Reuters

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Two fast-moving blazes ripped through California Sunday, destroying homes and prompting hundreds of evacuations. A fire in the Sacramento region burned 3,800 acres and was 50 percent contained. Nearly 200 fire engines and just over 1,900 personnel were tasked with mitigating the flames, according to CalFire officials. Ten homes and seven additional structures had already been destroyed by the so-called Sand Fire, which was also threatening more than 500 other buildings. Occupants of the 515 structures in and around the River Pines Estates community in Amador County were ordered to evacuate. "The leading edge is bumping up against residences as we speak," Lynn Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, a 2,600-acre fire that began Saturday afternoon threatened homes and cabins in Yosemite National Park. Evacuations were ordered in Foresta, a community of about 45 homes where many park employees live, spokeswoman Kari Cobb said. The nearly 500 residents of Old El Portal were evacuated Sunday morning, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office. Nearly 600 firefighters were battling the blaze in an area scorched in a 2009 fire.

Image: Members of the CAL Fire Vina Helitack crew battle the 'Sand Fire' near Plymouth, California
Members of the CAL Fire Vina Helitack crew battle a spot fire as the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire" burns near Plymouth, Calif., on July 26. The fire, which started Friday, has burned five homes, 1300 acres, and is 20 percent contained, local media reported.MAX WHITTAKER / Reuters

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— Elisha Fieldstadt, with The Associated Press

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