The first major blaze of Northern California's fire season continues to burn slowly through steep terrain in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
U.S. Forest Service officials reported Sunday evening the Saddle Fire, sparked by lightning last week, had consumed 1,490 acres of brush and dead and downed timber and was 40 percent contained -- up from 20 percent Sunday morning. About 1,150 firefighters were on the fire lines.
The blaze has forced evacuation of a handful of ranches and homes in the sparsely settled mountains 60 miles west of Redding. The fire is burning about five miles northwest of the hamlet of Hyampom, population 234, and residents there have been alerted they may need to leave if the fire shifts course.
The Saddle Fire was just one of the dozens of blazes started as thunderstorms moved across the drought-parched mountains of far Northern California. Virtually all of those blazes were immediately contained.
Hyampom lies at the confluence of Hayfork Creek and the South Fork of the Trinity River and is a footnote in the legend of mountain man Jedediah Smith.