Three Santa Clara County firefighters were treated and released to their homes Saturday morning after they and five inmate firefighters were burned battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in Mendocino County.

The two men and one woman suffered first- and second-degree burns while fighting the blaze shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, said Santa Clara County Deputy Fire Chief John Justice, who declined to identify them.

He said the firefighters were taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, then were driven late Friday night to the burn unit at Santa Clara County's Valley Medical Center, where they arrived about 3 a.m. Saturday. After being treated, they were discharged from the hospital about 8 a.m., he said, adding that the three were "in reasonably good spirits." He described their burns as "serious but not life-threatening."

Justice said the Santa Clara County Fire Department has sent about 250 people to help contain the blaze in a wilderness area near Laytonville, which is being battled by nearly 2,000 firefighters from around the state.

The five others who were injured were inmates from the Salt Creek Conservation Camp near Paskenta, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff. She had no details on how they were hurt, but noted that their burns were relatively minor and that all of them have been treated at a hospital and released.

The so-called Lodge Lightning Complex fire, sparked by lightning on July 30, has burned about 7,100 acres and was about 30 percent contained late Saturday, according to Cal Fire.


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An evacuation order was issued late Friday for the fire that on Saturday evening was still threatening nearly 60 structures across six communities, Tolmachoff said. The blaze had charred more than 11 square miles in steep and rugged terrain.

"The fire is burning in heaving timber and is proving to be quite a challenge," Tolmachoff said, adding that crews faced dry, breezy conditions in anticipation of more lightning strikes Sunday.

"That could create a whole new set of problems," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Steve Johnson at sjohnson@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5043. Follow him at Twitter.com/steveatmercnews