Residents east of Groveland are being asked to evacuate for a fast-moving forest fire that started Wednesday afternoon.
The Big Creek fire started at about 4:30 p.m. in a heavy timber area in the Groveland Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest, according to a press release. It’s near Highway 120 about 25 miles west of the northern entrance to Yosemite National Park.
It was first reported at 10 acres, but by 8 p.m., it had grown to 150 acres with a dangerous rate of spread and spotting, according to the release. Thursday morning, CalFire estimated it was 5% contained.
The areas of voluntary evacuations include Bucktail Drive, Hells Hollow Drive, Elmore Drive and Sprague Road east.
The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 120 at Sprague Road to Hells Hollow Road where travelers earlier in the day had were pulling over to take pictures of the fire. It was reopened by Thursday morning.
Residents were advised to evacuate and the Groveland Community Hall was opened as an evacuation center. It was unknown Wednesday evening how many structures were threatened or how many people were evacuated.
As of 8 p.m., 16 engines, three dozers, seven water tenders and seven hand crews were battling the blaze.