'Out of Control' Lake County Blaze Threatening Hundreds of Structures

Frederick Owens
June 28, 2018

A cooling Delta breeze and an increase in humidity are expected to help firefighters get control of wildfires burning across Northern California, Cal Fire said Monday.

Erratic winds and high temperatures fueled the Pawnee Fire in the Spring Valley region about 70 miles (112 km) northwest of Sacramento. The blaze imperiled the single road leading into a mostly residential community with some farms, officials said.

Dale Carnathan, emergency services manager for Lake County, told The Press-Democrat an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people live in the area of the fire.

Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate and flames have already destroyed several homes and structures.

The Pawnee Fire broke out around 5:21 p.m. Saturday evening along Pawnee Rd. and New Long Valley Rd., northeast of Clearlake Oak.

To the east, the so-called Lane fire in Tehama County had blackened 3,000 acres (1,215 hectares) as of Monday afternoon and was threatening a number of homes, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Some homes were threatened and some had been evacuated, Cox said, although he did not have specific numbers.

"What's happened with the more warming climate is we get low humidity and higher winds and then when we get a fire that's worse than it's been in those 50 years", Steele said.

The cause of each fire is being investigated.

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No percentage of containment was announced and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

He told The Press Democrat that the battle has been hard due to the valleys and hills in the area. Mandatory evacuation orders are also in effect for the entire Spring Valley subdivision of Clearlake Oaks.

Hansen said a local fundraising effort for Murgia has generated about $10,000 in cash, furniture and clothing.

Map of the perimeter of the Pawnee Fire as determined by a mapping flight at 12:32 a.m. PDT June 25, 2018.

While the blazes were the first major blazes of the season to hit California, others have raged throughout the west for weeks.

"Firefighters been doing an awesome job at structure protection, but because of the rate of speed the fire is spreading we are seeing some homes lost", said state Sen.

Residents also fled a wildfire in Shasta County.

Moderate to extreme drought conditions affect larger areas of those four states plus parts of Nevada, California, Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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