Evacuations have been ordered as dry, hot winds fuel a wildfire burning in parts of Yolo, Napa and Lake counties, sending a stream of smoke some 75 miles south into the San Francisco Bay Area.
The fast-moving blaze that broke out Saturday in western Yolo County has charred at least 32,500 acres — nearly 51 square miles — of dry brush and threatened more than 100 structures in ranchland northwest of Sacramento. No injuries were reported and the exact number of people evacuated was unclear. Cal Fire said Sunday night that the fire was 2 percent contained.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for all residences served by Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Pleasant Valley Road along with areas of north of Highway 128, south of County Road 23 and east of Berryessa Knoxville Road. An evacuation advisory is in effect for areas north of Quail Canyon Road, south of Highway 128, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and west of Pleasant Valley Road.
Autumn Edens marveled as a huge plume blocked the sun while she drove to her job as manager of the Corner Store in Guinda, a town of about 250 people just north of the fire.
"You can see the smoke and you can see an orange-red glow from the flames. It looks like a movie," she said. "I've never seen a fire like that up close and it's an intense feeling."
It was one of two major wildfires in the northern part of the state, where temperatures were soaring, humidity was dropping and winds were steady.
A blaze burning for several days to the west in Lake County jumped containment lines Saturday, prompting additional evacuation orders. That fire was more than 70 percent contained after charring about 22 square miles of brush and destroying at least 20 structures.
Smoke from the Yolo County fire was contributing to poor air quality in Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, according to the National Weather Service.
The haze settling on areas to the south and west and rattled nerves near wine country communities that were devastated by deadly wildfires late last year.
A dusting of ash fell as far away as San Francisco, where tourists snapped pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge enveloped in an orange shroud of fog and smoke.
Across the bridge in Marin County, some customers coughed as they stopped for gas at the Shell station in Sausalito, employee Sergio Garcia said.
"The sky is very dark, even in the middle of the day," he said. "It's a little scary."
Officials urged people not to call 911 about smoke unless they see actively burning fire.