Multiple wildfires burn out of control in Northern California

Wildfire near Grand Lake forces evacuations	 	 	 			Source John Williams

Wildfire near Grand Lake forces evacuations Source John Williams

The Pawnee Fire broke out more than a week ago and has consumed about 14,700 acres. It is 37 percent contained, according to state data. But they cautioned that conditions remain risky and said they want to be sure information is correct before notifying property owners.

Wildfires have burned through almost one million hectares in the United States this year as of June 29 - well above the average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fire, which actually extended through Yolo, Napa and Lake counties, started Saturday afternoon near Lake Berryessa and spread quickly. Evacuations exclude the city of Winters.

Authorities say a man accused of starting a southern Colorado wildfire that forced residents of more than 2,000 homes to evacuate has acknowledged building a fire but said he made sure it was out.

The original evacuation order covered 300 homes and impacted about 450 people.

Joergensen, who reported the wildfire, said it started about 20 ft (six meters) away from the fire pit Wednesday and he tried to put it out, an arrest affidavit says. It sparked amid a regional fire hazard warning in place throughout the day Saturday and into Sunday morning, due to high temperatures, low humidity and gusting winds.

Cal Fire said 30 structures are threatened by the County Fire as it sears through farmland. It started Friday afternoon.

Other evacuation orders include south of County Road 23, east of Berryessa Knoxville Road, and west of County Road 89, although agricultural industry traffic will be allowed.

The wildfires have given the San Francisco skyline an orange-brown haze. Evacuation centers for animals are open at the Las Animas County Fairgrounds in Trinidad and at the 4H barn in La Veta, Newsweek reported. Smoke and ash are contributing to poor air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area and California wine country. As of approximately 11 a.m. Sunday, the fire has moved well south of our location.

Smoke from the Sugarloaf Fire burning in Grand County is drifting into Nederland and Boulder. "Shifting winds have created numerous active portions of the fire that have the potential to increase fire spread", Cal Fire said late Sunday.

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

Officials urged people not to call 911 about smoke unless they see actively burning fire.

A fire official says a massive wildfire tearing through rural Northern California is burning 1.5 square miles (4 square kilometers) of rugged terrain an hour.

Firefighters will watch the blaze overnight as it is still smoldering, Mayer said.

The fire, which was human caused, is just five per cent contained, according to InciWeb, a federal government wildfire website.

Firefighters scramble to control flames surrounding a fire truck as the Pawnee fire jumps across a highway near Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Mule Skinner, Walker Ridge, Highway 16 and Highway 53 were all closed at Highway 20. Evacuation advisories were issued for the areas south of County Road 81 and west of County Road 85.

Deputy Chief McLean said the acreage of the new burn was minimal, but is a reminder of how serious the conditions are.

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