Dozens of buildings burned and a major interstate was closed as gusty winds fanned a large wildfire in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and ignited another blaze nearby, authorities said Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office issued new evacuation orders for the region Tuesday, bringing the number of people who have fled the fire to more than 11,000, according to NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento.
The Mosquito Fire had swelled to nearly 50,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon, and it was 18% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
Dramatic aerial video from KCRA showed air tankers dumping payloads of brightly colored retardant over giant smoke columns as the fire appeared to make a run toward the community of Foresthill, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist and wildfire expert at UCLA.
Roughly 20 miles west, a second blaze erupted Tuesday near the community of Dutch Flat, just off Interstate 80, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said.
Several roads in the area were under mandatory evacuation orders. The fire, which the sheriff’s office described as a vegetation fire, was at 25 acres with no containment Tuesday afternoon.
The causes of both blazes remained under investigation, Cal Fire said.
Tim Stelloh is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.