Fast-growing California wildfire prompts evacuations, spreads ash

July 1 (Reuters) - A fast-growing wildfire that broke out over the weekend in Northern California, fueled by parched lands and high winds, prompted evacuations on Sunday and sent ash spewing over a wide area of the region, officials said.

The so-called County Fire, located about 75 miles (120 kms) northeast of San Francisco, has blazed through around 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) and was zero percent contained as of Sunday afternoon.

The sky turned orange in parts of the San Francisco Bay area due to the blaze, with many residents waking up to a thin dusting of ash on windows, cars and lawns.

Residents in some rural areas of Yolo County were ordered to leave their homes as the flames advanced, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

RELATED: Aerial images of California's wildfire devastation

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Aerial images of California's wildfire devastation
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Aerial images of California's wildfire devastation
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
TOPSHOT - An aerial view shows a burned property in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Residences and vineyards burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An aerial view shows a burned school in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view shows firefighters working at a burned property in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 11: An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. At least 21 people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 3,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crew repairing a downed power line damaged by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California. More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
Traffic travelling along a highway near a Kmart discount store burned by wildfires is seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
In this aerial view, burned properties are seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
In this aerial view, burned properties are seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An aerial view shows burned properties in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
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"It's going to be headed into some populated areas of small communities in the near future if it is not curtailed," Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said in an interview.

As of June 29 of this year, wildfires have burned through nearly 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) in the United States, well above the average of about 2 million acres for the same calendar period over the last 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, a monitoring group.

Parched conditions in the U.S. West and Southwest have led to a rash of wildfires this year, with about 40 major blazes burning as of the end of June in an area from Washington State to New Mexico, the agency said.

More than 9,000 firefighters and 100 helicopters have been dispatched to battle the blazes, cutting containment lines on the ground and dropping fire retardant from the air, the agency said.

California and Colorado have been hard hit this year, with the largest wildfire in Colorado, the 416 Fire, charring almost 47,000 acres about 13 miles (21 km) north of Durango in the southwestern part of the state. It is 37 percent contained, according to state data.

An ongoing drought across much of the Southwest and West and a ridge of warm air that can produce high winds have made the area susceptible to wildfires, said Scott Marsh, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

"In a drought-stricken area, once you get a spark, it is off to the races," he said. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz Editing by Paul Simao)

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