Northern Calif. Fire Burns Homes Along Interstate

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - A fire that ignited along Interstate 5 in Stockton on Tuesday swept into a neighborhood and burned several homes.

Stockton Fire Department spokeswoman Mary Ruvalcaba said she did
not know how many homes and condominiums had burned because
firefighters were busy battling the flames.

High wind was spreading embers from trees and brush along the
interstate, while thick smoke was slowing traffic.

There were no immediate reports of injuries but residents had been evacuated, said Officer Pete Smith, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department. He did not know how many people had fled their homes.

The fire was driven by a north wind that had gusts up to 30 mph, said Jason Clapp, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. He said the relative humidity was 15 percent and could drop to single digits.

Fire officials had not determined a cause.

Stockton is an industrial city in the Central Valley about 50 miles south of the state capital.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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