UPDATE, 7/3/18, 1:15 p.m. — As of 12 p.m. today the evacuation order for the Double Eagle subdivision in Lake County has been lifted and residents are allowed to return home. The size and containment of the Pawnee Fire did not change in the 12 p.m. CalFire update.
No additional updates on the County Fire have been issued since this morning.
UPDATE, 7/3/18, 8:30 a.m. -- Firefighters continue to make steady progress against the Pawnee Fire while the County Fire continues to grow ferociously with little containment.
As of this morning the Pawnee Fire stands at 14,900 acres and is 80% contained. The Double Eagle subdivision remains under a mandatory evacuation, with a couple spur roads closed, but Hwy. 20 has been open since yesterday, and progress is being made. According to CalFire:
"Fire behavior has diminished due to weather conditions allowing direct line construction and crews hope to take advantage of the decreased tempatures[sic] and higher humidity. A threat remains and the community of Double Eagle remains under a Mandatory Evacuation."
However, the situation is different in the now enormous County Fire. The official measurement for that fire jumped from 60,000 acres yesterday evening, to 70,000 acres this morning -- though it is unclear how much of this represents actual growth and how much better measurement. The fire remains only 5% contained. To give you a sense of its size, 70,000 acres is a little more that 109 square miles, or about 2.3 times the size of San Francisco. San Francisco is a useful comparison, because of it's compact but very square shape.
That fire continues to rage in difficult terrain, with unfavorable weather conditions. Luckily it appears to be spreading into a mostly unpopulated area. It also seems to be the case that the fire is in a stage where many resources are being devoted to protecting properties and structures, rather than to directly creating the containment lines which produce favorable statistics.
The amount of resources being used on the fire is truly impressive, with a total of 2,162 fire personnel working on it, 187 engines, 18 helicopters, 50 bulldozers and 51 water tenders.
The list of evacuations is extensive:
North of Highway 128 in Yolo County, not including the City of Winters.
South of County Road 23
East of Berryessa Knoxville Road
West of County Road 89, South of the community of Esparto, however agricultural equipment will be permitted
Residences served by Highway 128, between Monticello Dam and Pleasant Valley Road
North of Quail Canyon Road
South of Highway 128
East of the Blue Ridge mountains
West of Pleasant Valley Road
East of Capell Valley Road
North of State Highway 128 from Capell Valley Road, East to the Napa County line
All of Steele Canyon Road
For questions regarding Yolo County evacuations or advisories, please dial 2-1-1
We'll continue to update as more info comes in.
Update 10:50 p.m. 7/02/18 —Highway 20 is now re-opened from State Route 53 to State Route 15. The Pawnee Fire grew from 14,700 acres in size to 14,800 acres in size over the day, and remains 75% contained.
The evening update from CalFire notes that:
Fire behavior has diminished due to weather conditions allowing direct line construction and crews hope to take advantage of the decreased tempatures and higher humidity. A threat remains and the community of Double Eagle remains under a Mandatory Evacuation.
As of 10:05 p.m., the County Fire in Yolo County, near Lake County, is 60,000 acres and 5% contained, up from 44,500 acres and 3% containment this morning. For reference that's 93.75 square miles, or almost exactly twice the area of San Francisco. Road closures and evacuations remain in place. The evening CalFire update states:
The County Fire continued to burn actively throughout the day. The potential for growth remains high as crews battle the fire in difficult terrain. Firefighters continued to work through the day to construct new containment lines and defend structures impacted by the fire.
Update 11:30 p.m. 7/01/18 — The County Fire is now 32,500 acres and 2% contained, which means it has approximately doubled in size since 10 a.m. this morning. The 7:50 p.m. CalFire incident update states, "Fire weather conditions remain critical. Extreme fire behavior has been observed. Shifting winds have created numerous active portions of the fire that have the potential to increase fire spread." Evacuations and road closures remain in effect.
Update 7:45 p.m. 7/01/18 — The Pawnee Fire is now 14,500 acres, up 400 acres from this morning, according to this evening's CalFire update. The update notes that the red flag warning has ended, but that "conditions remain hot and dry and winds remain erratic. The fire is capable of making sustained runs due to the types of fuel and topography. An immediate threat exists to the community of Double Eagle."
Double Eagle remains under mandatory evacuation. More information about the road closures and evacuations can be found in previous posts. So far the fire has destroyed 22 structures and damaged six others, with another 50 under threat, but these numbers have remained stable today. The fire remains at 73% containment.
For the most recent update on the County Fire see the previous posts below.
Update 6:05 p.m. 7/01/18 — Highway 20 will remain closed between Hwy. 53 and Hwy. 16 until at least 8 a.m. on Monday, July 2, according to a tweet from Caltrans. The County Fire continues to be active; here's some more details from the Lake County News. According to a 4:40 p.m. update by CalFire, the fire is still 22,000 acres in size with no containment but has not grown since this morning. A smoke advisory has been issued for the Bay Area due to the County Fire.
There has not been another update on the Pawnee Fire from CalFire since this morning.
Update 1:50 p.m. 7/01/18 — The County Fire is now 22,000 acres in size, according to a CalFire update at around 1:30 p.m. Additional evacuations have been ordered and all the details can be found at the County Fire incident page or by calling Yolo County 2-1-1. Information about Solano county evacuations or advisories can be found by calling (707) 398-8261. Some agricultural traffic is being allowed in portions of the impacted region.
There are no current updates from CalFire regarding the Pawnee Fire since this morning — you can read the update from 10:40 a.m. below.
Please note: The Mendocino Voice will be continuing to update with the most current fire information as often as possible. However, we primarily cover Mendocino County, and so we recommend that those who may be immediately impacted by the County Fire also check with more local news sources in that area for the most immediate updates regarding evacuation notices and other urgent or emergency info. Our colleagues at the Lake County News are also providing updates on the Pawnee Fire.
Update 10:50 a.m. 7/01/18 — The Pawnee Fire stayed active overnight, and grew slightly larger in size. This morning's CalFire report states the fire is approximately 14,150 acres as of 10:40 a.m. The 7 a.m. update listed the fire at 14,100 — which means it grew about 250 acres overnight in a "moderate rate of spread," and has grown 50 acres between 7 am. and 10:40 a.m. Sunday morning. Red flag weather is expected to continue today and so the fire may continue to increase in size.
As of now the renewed evacuations remain in place and the portion of Highway 20 closed yesterday remains closed. You can check the latest road closures at the California Highway Patrol incident page or by calling 1-800-427-7623. Our colleagues at the Lake County News are also providing updates.
The County Fire in Yolo County grew significantly overnight and as of 10:15 a.m. is approximately 16,500 acres with 0% containment and has crossed over the Yolo County/Napa County lines. New mandatory evacuations have been ordered as of 10 a.m. and include: North of Highway 128; South of County Road 23; East of Berryessa Knoxville Road; and West of County Road 89. There is an evacuation advisory for south of County Rd 81 and West of County Rd 85. Current evacuations can be checked with Yolo County 2-1-1. The evacuation center is located at the Guinda Grange Hall.
Update 7:50 p.m. 6/30/18 — The evening update from CalFire for the Pawnee Fire states the fire is now 13,850 acres, which is a slight increase size, and 73% contained. The update notes that "due to red flag conditions, fire activity has increased." This afternoon CalFire ordered additional evacuations and closed a portion of Highway 20; additional details are in below.
The red flag warning will continue through the weekend. Additional air tankers are available from around the state if needed, but many are currently on the scene trying to prevent the fires from crossing ridges.
The Guinda Fire is now being called the County Fire. The most recent update from 5:15 p.m. states the fire is 1,000 acres.
Firefighters on the scanner are hard at work strategizing the best access to the current flare-up and the neighboring County Fire. One poetic if proper fire captain was heard to remark, "If that burns through there I might just have to resort to using profanity.”
Update 6:40 p.m. 6/30/18 -- The Guinda Fire, in Yolo County near Lake County, is now 1,000 acres and evacuations are being ordered; here's the CalFire incident page.
MENDOCINO Co., 6/30/18 -- Nature is not cooperating today -- the Pawnee Fire in Lake County has flared up forcing renewed evacuations and a closure of State Route 20 between Hwy. 53 and Hwy. 16, and a new fire has broken out along Highway 16 nearby just near the county line in Yolo County, dubbed the Guinda Fire.*
The situation is moving quickly, and details are not totally clear, but here's a little of what we know right now:
- New evacuation orders have been issued: "The Lake County Sheriff's Office has ordered a MANDATORY EVACUATION for the Double Eagle Subdivision area due to a flare up in the Pawnee Fire. This notice affects all residents and businesses inareas near the Double Eagle Subdivision. An evacuation center is being set up at the Lower Lake High School. More information will follow as it is received. Per the CHP - Hwy. 20 closed from Hwy. 53 to Hwy. 16. "
- An evacuation advisory has been issued: "This is an advisory evacuation notice for residents South of Highway 20 between Morgan Valley Road and State Highway 16. The Pawnee Fire may expand beyond containment and continue to move South with current weather conditions.
Here's what CalTrans has to say about the road closure:
SR 20 has been closed from the junction of SR 53 in Lake County to SR 16 in Colusa County. Caltrans will reopen the highway as soon as it is safe, but there is no estimated time right now.
— Caltrans District 1 (@CaltransDist1) July 1, 2018
Prior to this latest flare up, as late as this morning, the Pawnee Fire seemed to be under control, with a containment of 73%,* and a burned area of 13,700 acres, which had held steady for a couple days running. But with the incredibly high temperatures across inland Northern California conditions have become increasingly difficult.
So many resources are currently being devoted to fighting the two fires — including an array of water tankers — that one person on the scanner was heard to request a pause in requesting more air assistance so as to prevent a traffic jam.
Here is some info from our colleagues at the Lake County News.
And some coverage from our friend Kym Kemp:
Here's our previous coverage of the Pawnee Fire.
*This article has been updated to include the correct percentage of containment of the fire and the exact location of the Guinda/County Fire.