BELDEN (CBS / AP) — Strong winds and low humidity have helped a wildfire burning in Northern California’s Plumas National Forest expand to nearly 47 square miles.

Officials say the Chips Fire — burning since July 29 — consumed an additional 15 square miles after jumping fire lines late Friday and early Saturday.

The fire has prompted the evacuation of 55 homes spread out across a rural area near the community of Belden, a tiny mountain town about 120 miles north of Sacramento.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, with more firefighters heading to the area to help out. Fire crews on the scene now are working under a scorching sun, in rugged terrain covered by thick brush and dry timber.

A Red Flag warning has been issued for the area, with the National Weather Service saying that temperatures could break 100 degrees Saturday and Sunday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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