An out-of-control wildfire roared through an old mining town in the Northern California mountains Sunday, destroying 20 homes and forcing nearly 300 residents to flee, officials said.

The day-old blaze quickly grew to 7,600 acres and was only about 10 percent contained.

Nearly 100 homes and 20 other buildings were threatened in French Gulch, about 20 miles west of Redding.

"It didn't take long for this one to move through. The winds are very erratic and going in every direction," said Linda Galvan, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

About 1,550 people worked to contain the fire. Several buildings -- including a church, post office and elementary school -- had been saved from the flames.

The cause was under investigation.

Firefighters were pulled from another wildfire that began Wednesday when a lawn mower struck a rock in dry grass. It set off a blaze that cut through the pine- and oak-covered hills of Shasta Lake, about 140 miles northwest of Sacramento.

By early Sunday, that fire had blackened nearly 11,000 acres and destroyed 80 homes, 30 outbuildings and 10 vehicles. It was 95 percent contained, and firefighters expected full containment by Monday evening, said Roy Del Carlo, a fire protection spokesman.

Most residents who were evacuated were allowed to return home.

Elsewhere, a 3,000-acre fire burned near Sequoia National Park, threatening 80 homes and 20 commercial buildings. It was about 30 percent contained Sunday evening.

In north-central Washington, about 280 guests and staff of a Christian retreat near Lake Chelan began voluntarily evacuating because of fires that covered 46,970 acres. The fires were 85 percent contained.

A few dozen miles south, a blaze near Dryden that had mushroomed after burning debris blew across a road was spreading to the north and south. About 400 homes were evacuated as the fire grew to at least 3,250 acres.

In French Gulch, Calif., a firefighter struggles with a blaze that threatened nearly 100 homes and 20 other buildings.