YANKEE HILL, California, September 10, 2001 (ENS) – At least 26 homes were destroyed by a 6,580 acre fire in northern California on Friday. The 8,000 plus acre Poe fire started September 6 about 85 miles north of Sacramento. High winds on Friday drove the flames over the small communities of Jarbo Gap and Yankee Hill. More than 400 houses were evacuated, and 26 burned to the ground, along with eight outbuildings and two commercial properties. The cause of the fire, which has caused an estimated $3.7 million in damages, is under investigation. Residents were allowed to return home today to survey the damage, but most will not be able to move back in until utility crews finish fixing their water, electricity and phone lines. Another major California blaze, the Darby Fire in Calaveras County, had burned 5,565 acres by this morning and was considered to be about 50 percent contained. Though the fire has not damaged any buildings, it has caused an estimated $6 million in damages, largely due to the destruction of the flume which supplies water to communities of Murphys and Angels Camp. Those areas now have less than a 48 hour water supply. Up canyon daytime winds hastened the spread of the fire today, with both flanks of the fire moving into the Middle and North Forks of the Stanislaus River. Nearly 2,500 firefighters are working to protect residences along the northwest rim of the river canyon. The fire is in steep and inaccessible terrain, and contingency plans for possible evacuations are being developed.