REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Crews battling a wildfire that destroyed 30 homes and damaged 30 others in Northern California expected to get help Wednesday from favorable weather while possibly allowing some evacuated residents to return home.
Temperatures were forecast to be cooler, winds lighter and humidity higher as firefighters fought the Clover Fire in Shasta County, state fire spokesman Mike Witesman said.
The fire grew by more than 250 acres overnight, but containment stayed at 40 percent. The blaze has chewed through nearly 11 square miles.
Witesman said flames were still threatening 300 homes around Happy Valley, about 150 miles north of Sacramento.
Evacuations remained in place, though at least some might be lifted later in the day, Witesman said.
"Things are looking good," he said.
The fire began on Monday and winds sent it spreading at 500 acres an hour. Residents were given just minutes to grab their belongings and leave, as the fire jumped roads and engulfed homes.
Thomas Texeira said he initially battled the flames but left when the fire came within 200 yards of his home.
"I drove through a wall of flames," Teixeira told the Record Searchlight of Redding (http://bit.ly/1d2bgBo) about his narrow escape.
Sean Reed rummaged through the rubble of his home on Tuesday with his father-in-law, Carl Reed, looking for jewelry and other family mementos. He vowed to rebuild.
"We will probably use the same foundation," he told the newspaper.
Reed said he has insurance.
Meanwhile, the Rim Fire in and around Yosemite National Park was 80 percent contained, with full containment expected on Sept. 20. That blaze burned nearly 400 square miles.
Firefighters also gained ground on a wildfire burning in a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park.
Containment of the Morgan Fire at Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County increased to 70 percent overnight. The fire has burned a little less than 5 square miles. All evacuations had been lifted, and full containment was expected by Friday.
Officials have said the Rim Fire was caused by a hunter. The causes of the other two fires remain under investigation.
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