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Fire Crews Gain Ground Against Pawnee Fire In Lake County

AP Photo / Noah Berger

Firefighter Richard Cotter battles a wildfire on Sunday, June 24, 2018, near Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others Sunday as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California.

AP Photo / Noah Berger

Fire crews are gaining ground against a Northern California wildfire that forced more than 1,000 people to flee their homes and has destroyed 12 homes.

Cal Fire reports that the Pawnee Fire in Lake County north of San Francisco is 25 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, up from 17 percent on Tuesday.

Cal Fire’s Mike Mohler said that today’s cooler temperatures are helping, but won’t do much in the long run as the forecast calls for triple-digit heat this weekend.

“...What we're looking at is, unfortunately, the weather forecast is going to return right back into red flag conditions in a lot of these areas that have existing fires,” Mohler said.

While Lake County has been hard-hit by four other destructive fires since 2016, Mohler said that the Pawnee Fire area does not overlap any of the previous blaze areas.

"It does have some fire history but not of the recent fires within the past four to five years,” Mohler said. “But there is fire history out in these areas. We call them old burns that they've gone into where we're seeing different vegetation types because they're involved in earlier fires."

The blaze burning through dry brush, grass and timber has scorched 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) since it started on Saturday and is threatening 600 buildings. More than a thousand people who live in Spring Valley remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

Meanwhile, the Lane Fire in Tehama County has blackened nearly 4,000 acres off of Highway 36 in Paynes Creek and is sitting at 65 percent containment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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