North state fires surpass 12,000 acres as Lake County blaze continues to grow

Wildfires were burning more than 12,000 acres in Tehama, Shasta, Lake, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties as of Sunday evening, destroying at least a dozen buildings and forcing residents across Northern California to evacuate.

In the Lake County community of Spring Valley, mandatory evacuations are in place in response to the Pawnee Fire, which ignited near Pawnee Trail and New Long Valley Road. As of Sunday at 4:24 p.m., the Pawnee Fire totaled 7,700 acres and was not contained. It had destroyed at least 12 buildings and threatened more than 600 others.

At least 237 fire personnel, 32 fire engines and two helicopters were involved in the response to the Pawnee Fire on Sunday morning. Low humidity and erratic winds kept it burning consistently through the night.

Lower Lake High School and the Social Service Center have been designated as evacuation centers for people and animals, respectively, the Lake-County Record Bee reported on Facebook.

Winds carried ash from the Pawnee Fire into Sonoma County overnight, the Santa Rosa Fire Department said in a tweet.

Firefighters work to contain the Pawnee fire on Sunday in Spring Valley in Lake County. Paul Kitagaki Jr.

Evacuations were also ordered in parts of Tehama County as the Lane Fire off Highway 36 in Paynes Creek had burned 3,000 acres and was 10 percent contained as of Sunday evening

According to Cal Fire, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for Ponderosa Sky Ranch, Paynes Creek Road and Plume Creek Road.

At least three other rapidly growing blazes also ignited Sunday across Northern California.

A 1,000-acre fire was burning in Shasta County and 20 percent contained as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire Shasta. At about 2 p.m. Cal Fire tweeted that fire crews were battling multiple blazes totaling 100 acres off Clear Creek and American Roads just west of Redding in Shasta County.

Less than a half-hour later, Cal Fire tweeted that the fires had grown to 300 acres.

Both Cal Fire and the City of Redding Fire Department are working together to fight the blaze, said Lynnette Round, Cal Fire spokesperson.

Also in Shasta County, the Bascom Fire in Millville reached 328 acres and was 85 percent contained as of Sunday evening. No evacuation information for the Bascom Fire has been released by Cal Fire.

The Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at West Valley High School in Cottonwood for evacuees displaced by the Shasta County fires.

The Horse Fire was burning 50 acres near Horseshoe Road and Stagecoach Drive in Calaveras County as of 5:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire. Forward progress on that blaze has stopped, Cal Fire said. Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for a few hours before being lifted.

Everyone should always be aware of weather conditions in their area, Round said, and advised people to look out for any evacuation orders when a fire is nearby and to follow any orders they receive immediately.

In addition, firefighters were battling the Flat Fire in the community of Moccasin near Highway 49 in Tuolumne County, which had torched 150 acres and was 25 percent contained by 8:30 p.m. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in the afternoon and lifted at 8 p.m.Highway 59 is closed to through traffic at Highway 20 through Monday, according to the Modesto Bee.

In Tehama County, the Stoll Fire (500 acres and 50 percent contained as of 6 p.m. Sunday) near Red Bluff broke out, according to the Cal Fire website.

The forward spread of the Stoll Fire had stopped by Sunday morning, but multiple residential and commercial structures succumbed to the blaze, and mandatory evacuations have been enforced for Baker, Paskenta, Wilder and Stoll roads.

The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at Red Bluff Community Center for evacuees from both the Stoll Fire and the Lane Fire, according to a Red Cross press release.

Up-to-date information on evacuation centers and affected areas can be found here.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning on Saturday across many Northern California counties in response to high heat, low humidity, strong winds and conditions that exacerbate the risk of fire, Cal Fire Spokeswoman Lynette Round said. The warning was in effect through 8 p.m. Sunday.

National Weather Service Reno also issued a Red Flag Warning for the Western Nevada Sierra Front/West Central Nevada basin and range. That warning is in effect through 10 p.m. Sunday.

Chico-Redding based Action News Now reports that utility provider PG&E had cut power to more than 10,000 homes in Red Bluff, Redding and Chico as of 8 p.m. Saturday. About 6,800 of those homes lost power at the request of Cal Fire, with the other outages caused by fire damaging PG&E equipment or facilities, Action News reports.

Temperatures in Red Bluff were as high as 106 degrees as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

PG&E's online outage map indicated that as of 9 a.m., more than 1,900 customers in the Red Bluff area were without power.

Some remarkable photos and videos surfaced on social media Saturday afternoon, showing aerial efforts to combat some of the fires.

Two weeks earlier, a pair of large grass fires in Tehama and Glenn counties burned more than 5,000 acres combined. Those fires also broke out on a Saturday afternoon.

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