California wildfire threatens to cut off rural community

Clay Curtis
June 26, 2018

A mapping flight at 12:32 a.m. Monday determined that it had burned 8,502 acres.

"The mandatory evacuation notice for Spring Valley is being expanded to include all areas north of Highway 20 and east of Old Long Valley Rd to Round Ball Rd, including Mule Skinner, Long Branch, Watertrough Rd, Flintlock, Muzzleloader, No Guns, Antelope, Cougar, Marianne, Ramrod, and Moccasin. It has the potential to get a lot bigger given the wind and the directions it's being pushed".

If the fire continues towards that area of the burn scars, the fuels are a lot less dense from where the fire is now.

"Weather is definitely a contributing factor to this fire", said Matt Mehle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. No injuries were reported. Lower Lake High School (9430 Lake St.) now established as a second shelter for evacuees.

About 3,000 people have been ordered to evacuate.

The Pawnee Fire is one of several large fires now burning in Northern California.

"When we saw the fire encroaching on us, time to go", said Valeria House of Clearlake Oaks.

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Erratic wind and heat gripping a swath of California from San Jose to the OR border drove the flames, which were north of the wine country region where devastating wildfires killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last October.

A wildfire there that was not contained at all grew to 13 square miles and destroyed at least 22 homes and buildings, the agency reported.

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

In Shasta County, the Creek Fire that ignited Sunday southwest of Redding in the Happy Valley/Igo area is up to 1,300 acres and is 30 percent contained. It is 90 percent contained at 328 acres.

Containment refers to the percentage of the fire's perimeter that has been surrounded by a fire break and hose-line, which is a very high standard.

"Spring Valley people are scared to death of these fires, and we have just begun fire season", said resident Sherre Prior, 74, who was evacuated from her home at Spring Valley and Wolf Creek roads around midnight Saturday.

A fire west of Red Bluff Saturday has caused evacuations between Stoll and Walnut on the west side of Baker Road as well as Paskenta and Wilder roads, according to Cal Fire in an update Sunday morning. Steele said the area has also been susceptible to fire for many decades because dense brush and trees in the sparsely populated area, but the severity of the latest blazes is unexpected.

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