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Firefighters make all-out assault on raging Ponderosa blaze

August 20, 2012 |  3:50 pm

Firefighters were streaming in to fight the Ponderosa wildfire burning in rural Northern California as FEMA announce it was also making funds available to help.

More than 1,400 firefighters are battling the Ponderosa blaze, which has consumed 15,000 acres in Shasta and Tehama counties east of Redding, said Capt. John Dominguez of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. An estimated 2,000 people have been ordered to evacuate since the fire began Saturday morning.

Dominguez said the fire picked up in intensity Sunday afternoon, jumping some of the containment lines that had been set up by crews and threatening 3,000 homes. Firefighters have been working in steep, rugged terrain to keep the blaze from spreading north into Shingletown and northeast into Viola.

So far, seven homes have been destroyed. The community of Manton also remains under threat, Dominguez said.

"They’re not in the clear because we still have the potential for the wind shift," he said.

The fire has been 5% contained, according to a 7 a.m. update from the fire agency. Shasta County officials have declared a state of emergency, and the American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center in Redding.

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-- David Zahniser

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