Out-Of-Control County Fire Grows To 44,500 Acres

The Pawnee Fire burns Tuesday near Clearlake California

The Pawnee Fire burns Tuesday near Clearlake California

Natalie and Paul Klempau own the Taber Ranch Vineyard and Event Center which is under a voluntary evacuation order because of the County Fire.

Cal Fire officials report Valley Fire is being is being driven by the same conditions as the Pawnee Fire with "red flag" weather consisting of high temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity. It looks like a movie.

The smoke from the County Fire has put a real damper on what would otherwise be a busy and festive holiday week at Lake Berryessa.

The hot, windy conditions fueling the fire and others across the West are expected to persist through the end of July in Utah and parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, U.S. fire officials said.

Scott McLean, deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the San Francisco Chronicle that windblown embers are making containment more hard. However, some people living in a few homes closest to the fire were not allowed to return Friday night.

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Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean says the agency is anxious about an expected return of 100 degree temperatures by the end of the week and Fourth of July fireworks in the middle of it. It is 75 percent contained. Cal Fire says 110 fire engines, 12 helicopters and 18 bulldozers are now working to establish containment. "It's a very extreme fire". The footprint of the Atlas Fire could serve as a partial barrier, reducing the chance that this new fire could reach the Napa area again. Despite burning more than 72 miles (115.8 km) away, smoke from the blazes has made them feel ever present in the Bay Area.

One of the last major fires in the Capay Valley was in October 2004, when 25,000 acres was burned.

The County Fire has rolled over 44,500 acres in the day and a half it has been burning. The fire is 73-percent contained. 16 west to the Capay Valley remains open and not threatened, but that people should expect to see fire crews, some rural road closures and intermittently slow traffic in localized areas as authorities continue their efforts.

"It jumped a line, burned 100 acres", McLean said.

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