San Francisco

County Fire Explodes in Size, Scorching 72,500 Acres in Napa and Yolo Counties

'This fire is absolutely, extremely fast-moving,' a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman said

A massive wildfire burning in rural Northern California has exploded in size, torching at least 72,500 acres,  and forced additional evacuations in Yolo and Napa counties.

The fast-moving County Fire burning northwest of Sacramento grew dramatically by Tuesday morning, largely burning out of control in rugged terrain with a few cattle and horse ranches and sending smoke and ash as far south as San Francisco. The blaze was 15 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, Cal Fire said.

Late Tuesday night, Cal Fire said mandatory evacuations in Napa County  were in effect for the area west of state Highway 16 to Berryessa Knoxville Road, south of Old County Road 40 and north of County Road 53.

Cal Fire also lifted evacuations west of state Highway 16 between County Roads 76 and 81; west of County Road 89 to the burn area, from County Road 23 in the north to state Highway 128 in the south.

State fire officials on Tuesday said 980 structures were threatened but none had burned. No injuries were reported.

The fire that started Saturday about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of gray ash. 

The flames were chewing through tinder-dry grass, oak and brush in the hills outside of the tiny town of Guinda, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Gabe Lauderbale said.

"This fire is absolutely, extremely fast-moving," he said.

Other mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for areas north of Highway 128 in Yolo County not including the city of winters, south of County Road 23, 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, west of Pleasant Valley Road, east of Capell Valley Road, north of Highway 128 from Capell Valley Road and east to the Napa County line, and all of Steele Canyon Road.

At least 2,115 fire personnel are battling the flames from the ground and from the air, according to Cal Fire.

Crews are expected to fully contain the fire next week, according to Cal Fire.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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