Tue., 11:48 pm: Firefighters attack Central California blaze

FRESNO, Calif. – Firefighters swarmed to the Central California foothills today, attacking a blaze that had grown to cover 2 square miles in two days.

Officials urged some residents east of Lake McClure in Mariposa County to leave their homes, as fire crews work to tamp down the flames before they grow too large to handle.

In an extreme dry year like this, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said, they are attacking it from all angles.

“We’re fighting this fire not only on the ground but also in the air, helping to slow this thing down,” Berlant said.

The Hunters Fire ignited Monday afternoon and destroyed one house as it spread to the dry brush in steep foothills. Crews had difficulty reaching it, and today temperatures rose into the 90s with winds up to 20 mph, adding to the challenge of an already dry year.

More than 500 firefighters battling the blaze on the ground had the fire 20 percent contained, Berlant said. The cause remained under investigation.

In its third dry year, California has already had 1,700 wildfires in 2014, said Berlant, who compared that to the 900 by this time last year.

In two days, the fire has cause three injuries. One of them was an inmate firefighter who was cut by a chain saw, said Berlant, describing the injury as moderate. He said the other two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Up to 100 homes are potentially threatened.