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Jerusalem Fire Grows To 6,000 Acres; Zero Percent Containment

@CALFIRE_PIO / Twitter

Fires like the Jerusalem Fire in August 2015 remained active during overnight hours as temperatures remained warm, rather than cooling down.

@CALFIRE_PIO / Twitter

Tuesday Update: Jerusalem Fire Doubles In Size Overnight



Tuesday, Aug. 11, 6:23 a.m.  - The Jerusalem Fire in Lake County has grown to nearly 6,000 acres. It's only 10 percent contained. 

Cal Fire has ordered evacuations and diverted firefighters and air tankers from the nearby Rocky Fire, which is 85 percent contained.

11:25 p.m. - Cal Fire says the Jerusalem Fire has grown to 6,000 acres, with zero percent containment.

Firefighting resources are being demobilized from the Rocky Fire to the Jerusalem Fire. Erratic winds contributed to the increased fire activity, including high intensity runs with short range spotting.

Crews are working aggressively to stop the progression and sustain perimeter control.

-Capital Public Radio staff

9 a.m. - The Jerusalem Fire that started Sunday in Lake County grew to 5,000 acres overnight with no containment.

The wildfire is burning northeast of Middletown and southeast of Lower Lake, near the Rocky Fire area. Paul Lowenthal with Cal Fire says crews are hoping to use fire lines from the Rocky Fire to speed up containment

"In a perfect world, we want the whole fire to burn into the black or the burned area of Rocky Fire area," he says. "But with this terrain there's the potential to move around into the canyons."

Lowenthal says the terrain in Lake County is ready to burn -- and burn hot.

"You have everything from mixed grasslands to oak lands to heavy brush and dense vegetation," he says. "We're on our fourth year of drought. So with or without wind, we're getting some pretty rapid rate of spreads with how dry the vegetation is."

Cal Fire says there's no indication this was a lightning fire -- the cause is still under investigation. Middletown High School is set up as an evacuation shelter for residents in Lake County. 

8 a.m. The Jerusalem Fire in Lake County that started Sunday near the charred area of the Rocky Fire has grown to 5,000 acres with no containment.

Paul Lowenthal with Cal Fire says fighting the Jerusalem Fire will take some time.

"Hoping overnight we made some good progress with higher humidity and lower temperatures," he says. "However, this fire has been fuel and terrain-driven so it's definitely a challenge."

Lowenthal says there's no indication this was a lightning fire -- the cause is still under investigation.

The Jerusalem Fire has forced the second evacuation of residents who were forced out of their homes days earlier because of the Rocky Fire, which is now 85 percent contained.

Firefighters and air tankers battling that fire were reassigned to attack the new fire.

7 a.m. - A new wildfire called the Jerusalem Fire started over the weekend in Lake County. It's named after the Jerusalem Valley, which is northeast of Middletown and southeast of Lower Lake, near the Rocky Fire area. The blaze grew to 5,000 acres overnight. There is no containment. 

Paul Lowenthal with Cal Fire says the Jerusalem Fire is being fought by fire crews fresh off the Rocky Fire.

"We have a lot of resources that we're able to bring over from the Rocky Fire, as well as additional resources both on the ground and in the air," he says.

Lowenthal says the fuel and fire conditions in that area of Northern California mean the fire moves fast and burns hot.

"On the Rocky Fire we're seeing total fuel consumption, meaning that when the fire was burning through, it was burning so hot and so fast, the fuels were so dry from four years of drought that it was totally consuming the fuels," he says.

6:10 a.m. - There's a new fire in Lake County near the charred area of the Rocky Fire. Cal Fire says the Jerusalem Fire is up to 5,000 acres and is zero percent containment.

Cal Fire spokesman Paul Lowenthal says the Jerusalem Fire will take some time.

"Hoping overnight we made some good progress with higher humidity and lower temperatures," says Lowenthal. "However, this fire has been fuel and terrain driven so it's definitely a challenge."

Cal Fire says there is no indication this was a lightning fire -- the cause is still under investigation.

6 a.m. (AP) - A wildfire that broke out several miles south of the massive Rocky Fire in Lake County has forced the second evacuation of residents who were forced out of their homes days earlier.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection official said the new fire, called the Jerusalem Fire, was reported Sunday afternoon near the community of Lower Lake.

Capt. Joe Fletcher said the fire exploded to 3,000 acres and could merge with the Rocky Fire, the state's largest wildfire which has burned 69,636 acres.

He said firefighters and air tankers battling that fire were reassigned to attack the new fire.

Authorities in Lake County issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents of the rural Jerusalem Valley. They fled their homes when the Rocky Fire threatened the area on July 31.