1,700-Acre Lowell Fire Threatens 1,800 Structures in Off I-80 in Sierra Nevada Foothills

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Cal Fire's spokesman tweeted this photo of the Lowell Fire on July 26, 2015.

About 1,800 structures are threatened by a fast-moving wildfire in the Sierra foothills (map) that has sent four firefighters to a hospital with burns and continues to consume tinder-dry woodlands.

Only 20% contained, the Lowell fire grew slightly overnight to 1,700 acres Monday after flames ran through parched trees and oil-rich manzanita shrubs, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire sent plumes of smoke into nearby communities.

More than 1,400 firefighters have continued battling the blaze by air and on the ground, but access to the flames is challenging due to the steep terrain, Cal Fire said.

Now fire officials are monitoring wind patterns, which could shift Monday, according to Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. Earlier in the firefight, southern winds fanned flames to the north. The latest weather report indicates gusty north winds could present a problem for fire crews.

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