RUTH, Calif. (CN) – Firefighters and rain helped damp down a 1,500-acre weekend blaze in the heavily forested Ruth area of Trinity County, allowing the U.S. Forest Service to lift its evacuation order Monday.
Forest Service spokeswoman Yvonne Jones said authorities were unsure how many people had honored the evacuation order issued shortly after the Ruth fire began Friday, but authorities estimated about 50.
Weekend rain aided the efforts of the 883 firefighters from 12 federal, state and local agencies who battled the blaze in the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forest areas of southern Trinity County.
“The fire is 65 percent contained and we are hoping for 100 percent by Wednesday,” Jones said. The fire was classified as burning slowly on Monday.
Four residences and 27 outbuildings around the Ruth area were destroyed or damaged, she said. The fire also covered much of Trinity County in a pall of smoke over the weekend.
The fire began around noon Friday near Ruth, breaking out in brush just across the river from the town, a popular site for summer residences near Ruth Lake.
The origin is under investigation and authorities may initially keep results to themselves to avoid alerting possible suspects, she said.
“More than likely it was human caused because it started in Ruth, but we also have lightning strikes, even in Ruth itself, so we just can’t say yet,” said Jones.
The remaining uncontained fires are away from residences, so firefighters guarding homes may be demobilized later Monday.
Power was restored to most areas late Saturday, and roads around the Ruth area have been reopened, except for County Road 504. The forest area around South Fork Mountain also remains closed.