(Reuters) - A fast-spreading wildfire threatened to cut off access to a rural community in northern California on Monday, destroying almost two dozen structures and forcing authorities to order the evacuation of about 3,000 residents.
Erratic winds and high temperatures fueled the Pawnee Fire in the Spring Valley region about 70 miles (112 km) northwest of Sacramento.
More than 230 firefighters were tackling the blaze, which has burned 8,200 acres (3,318 hectares), destroyed 22 buildings and threatened around 600 other buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Thick clouds of black smoke billowed above the inferno that has burned through thousands of miles of dry land. Small pieces of dissolved metal and gray ash were all that was left of some structures.
The blaze jumped the single road leading to the mainly residential Spring Valley community in a couple of places, said Dale Carnathan, emergency services manager for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said, adding that some local residents have refused to evacuate.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) issued an emergency proclamation Monday declaring a state of emergency in Lake County due to the fire.
Pawnee is one of four major wildfires burning in California. No injuries have been reported. (Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Diane Craft)