Bridge Fire erupts in Sierra foothills, Auburn State Recreation Area evacuated

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Photo of J.K. Dineen

Lake Clementine is located in a canyon on the North Fork American River near Auburn. A wildfire has prompted evacuation of boaters and pickners in the surrounding recreation area.

John Hannon/Sacramento Valley Water

Boaters and picnickers enjoying Labor Day weekend at the shores of Lake Clementine in Placer County were ordered to evacuate Sunday afternoon when a wildfire ignited under the Foresthill Bridge near the historic gold mine city of Auburn.

Just before 3 p.m. Cal Fire reported the new fire under the Foresthill Bridge in the Auburn State Recreation Area, east of Highway 80 and Old Town Auburn. By 3 p.m. the blaze, dubbed the Bridge Fire, had burned more than 30 acres on both sides of Foresthill Road. By 6 p.m. it was more than 210 acres, according to Cal Fire Chief Brian Estes. Local TV footage showed large gray and brown plumes billowing skyward.

The fire was moving east and northeast, in the opposite direction of the residential parts of Auburn, a city of about 14,000, according to Lt. Nelson Resendes of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. While no homes or commercial structures were under threat, the fire’s proximity to Lake Clementine prompted authorities to evacuate all visitors around the shores of both Upper and Lower Lake Clementine, Resendes said.

Lower Lake Clementine was at full capacity today for boats and trailers as visitors celebrated Labor Day weekend and cooled off amid 95-degree heat.

“There are still people on boats sheltering in place – we are developing a plan to get them out by nightfall,” said Resendes.

J.K. Dineen is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jdineen@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @sfjkdineen

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