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Fast-growing wildfire threatens 500 homes near rural town in Northern California

A fast-growing wildfire near the Northern California town of Weaverville forced the evacuation of about 150 homes and is threatening about 500 additional residences, authorities said Monday.

The fire about 2 miles west of Weaverville was also threatening about 20 businesses and facilities, including the town airport and high school, said Lilly Wyatt, a spokeswoman with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

The fire was sparked Sunday afternoon near Highway 299, the main road into town, and rapidly grew to a little more than 1 square miles, or 650 acres, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Berlant said crews struggled to contain the blaze because of the steep terrain, plus gusty winds and dry conditions that were fueling the flames.

Wyatt, whose office was coordinating the response to the fire, said about 380 firefighters were battling the blaze.

KRCR-TV reports the fire temporarily forced the closure of the highway, and school was canceled for Monday.

Weaverville is at the base of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area in Trinity County in far northern California. The Gold Rush-era boom town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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