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Monticello Fire Challenges Crews



Calfire said Monday that a wildfire in a mountainous area of Yolo County is 35 percent contained. The Monticello Fire near Lake Berryessa has burned 6,488 acres since it started July 4.

About 40 homes were threatened over the weekend, but evacuation orders have been lifted. Campgrounds along Highway 128 remain under the evacuation order.

Cal Fire's Daniel Berlant says shifting winds were a concern Monday afternoon.

"Right now though our lines are holding and we continue to make real good progress,” said Berlant. “In fact we were able to reopen Highway 128 through the fire area." 

Three firefighters have suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant tweeted Monday that the agency responded to 275 wildfires in the last week and 3,000 wildfires since January, 900 above average.

Meanwhile, in Napa and Lake counties, a fire that burned 4,300 acres northwest of Lake Berryessa, is 90 percent contained. Berlant said full containment of the Butts Fire is expected Tuesday.

He said Cal-Fire crews responded to 275 new wildfires in the last week.

“Since January 1, we've responded to nearly 3,000 wildfires,” said Berlant. “In a normal year, that number would be about 2,100. So because of the dry conditions we've continued to see a significant increase in fire activity."

He said conditions now [in California] are as dry as they would be at the end of August, beginning of September.

The Butts Fire started a week ago. The cause is under investigation. And, the Ranch Fire in Kern County is 20 percent contained at 150 acres. Officials say aerial drops of water and retardant have kept the fire from spreading. There are no structures or campgrounds threatened by the wildland fire in the Sequoia National Forest.

9:40 A.M.

(AP) -- Fire officials say crews have kept a wildfire burning in rural Northern California from growing dramatically overnight.

The Monticello Fire in the steep mountains near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County was 35 percent contained as of Monday morning, up 5 percent from Sunday. It has burned about 10 square miles.

The fire, which began on Friday, at one point threatened about 40 homes. But evacuation orders for those homes were lifted on Sunday.

State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant says the fire could threaten other homes as it moves north. Crews are expecting another day of dry, 100-degree-plus weather with gusty winds.

Three firefighters have suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.

(AP) -- A wildfire that began Friday in Yolo County has burned 6,488 acres and is only 30 percent contained.

Fire officials say rugged terrain, shifting winds and hot, dry conditions have made it tough to battle the Monticello Fire, and they say there's still "a potential for extreme growth."

Some firefighters battling another wildfire northwest of Lake Berryessa have been sent to fight the Monticello Fire, now that the other blaze is 85 percent contained after burning nearly 7 square miles.

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