Lake County leaders declared a public health emergency on Friday due to concerns about possible “chemical and contaminants” that might have been contained in structures that burned up during the Valley Fire.
The declaration allows for more mutual aid and state help in cleaning up areas affected by the wildfire.
Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait officially made the declaration on Tuesday, but did not make a public announcement because she said she was concerned it would raise panic among residents.
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The Valley Fire burning in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties stood at 73,700 acres and was 45 percent contained, Cal Fire officials said Friday night.
The blaze, which started at 1:24 p.m. Saturday in the area of Cobb in Lake County, has killed at least three people and injured four firefighters.
Cal Fire officials said at least 585 homes and hundreds of other structures have been destroyed, and at least 7,800 other residential and commercial structures were still threatened.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Bay City News contributed to this report.