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Saturday Northern California Wildfire Roundup: Wragg, Lowell, Willow, Swedes

Cal Fire Updates Facebook

A group of Cal Fire firefighters regroup on the Willow Fire earlier this week.

Cal Fire Updates Facebook

UPDATE:  7:15 p.m. - In Solano and Napa Counties, the Wragg Fire near Lake Berryessa is 95 percent contained at 8,051 acres.  Mandatory evacuations have been lifted. The wildfire has destroyed two outbuildings and damaged three outbuildings and one house.  All roads are open to normal traffic. "The forward progress of the fire has stopped within the control objectives," says Cal Fire. "The majority of the activity on the fire includes fire line suppression repair, mop up and tactical patrol as firefighters work to achieve full containment."

In Placer and Nevada Counties, the Lowell Fire is 80 percent contained at 2,304 acres. Evacuation advisories are in effect for the Steep Hollow Creek Community, from Chalk Bluff Road to Banner Quaker Road and the Buckeye Ridge Community. All other evacuation orders have been lifted. The cause of the fire, which started July 25, is under investigation.

The Swedes Fire in Butte County is 80 percent contained at 400 acres. All evacuations have been lifted. Two residences and 14 outbuildings have been destroyed. 

In the Modoc National Forest, the lightning-caused Frog Fire started July 30. "Erratic winds are challenging fire-containment efforts and moving the fire in all directions," according to fire managers. The Frog Fire was last estimated at 1,850 acres with 5 percent containment. 

 0801 David Ruhl

U.S. Forest Service firefighter David "Dave" Ruhl, 38, was driving down a road Thursday when the fire grew suddenly and trapped him. Forest Service officials say Ruhl was looking for an area to best attack the fire when he was killed. His body was recovered Friday. He was an Engine Captain with the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City, South Dakota. Ruhl was on temporary assignment in the Modoc National Forest as an Assistant Fire Management Officer.

0801 Willow Fire 

Nearly 2,000 firefighters are working to contain the Willow Fire in Madera County, which has burned 5,116 acres and is 50 percent contained. The human-caused fire has brought road closures. The Central Camp area, Douglas Ranger Station Road and the Cascadel Woods are have been evacuated due to the fire. The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425 B in Oakhurst. The Willow Fire, in the Sierra National Forest,  is in steep and rugged terrain, which requires hand crews to hike into the area and be supported by helicopters and air tankers. 

In the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, a series of lightning-caused fires, the Fork Complex, has burned 4,000 acres near the communities of Hayfork, Hyampom and Harrison Gulch. The Fork Complex consists of (at current count) over 30 fires, all of which were ignited by lightning between July 29 and 31.

"Structures were confirmed damaged and/or destroyed at Post Mountain Ranch," say interagency fire managers, which include Cal Fire. There are mandatory evacuations and road closures in the area. An evacuation center has been established at the Solid Rock Christian Church at the intersection of State Route 3 and Tule Creek Road in Hayfork.

 -Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

7:50 a.m.  

In Placer and Nevada Counties, the Lowell Fire is about 75 percent contained at just over 2,303 acres. Evacuation advisories are still in effect for Steep Hollow Creek Community, from Chalk Bluff Road to Banner Quaker Road and the Buckeye Ridge Community. "The Tahoe National Forest is maintaining a forest closure with specified exemptions for the fire area," says Cal Fire. Smoke may continue to impact communities in the foothills until the fire is put out. 

In Solano and Napa Counties, firefighters have contained the Wragg Fire at 92 percent. The fire has now charred 8,051 acres near Lake Berryessa. Mandatory evacuations have been lifted. The wildfire has destroyed two outbuildings and damaged three outbuildings and one house.  Road closures are in effect at Mix Canyon Road and only residents with identification may access Pleasants Valley Road.

The Willow Fire in Madera County is now at 5,116 acres and is 50 percent contained.

In Butte County, the Swedes Fire is at 400 acres and is 80 percent contained. All evacuations have been lifted in the area of the of this fire. Two residences and 14 outbuildings have been desroyed.