County Fire grows to 32,500 acres, crosses into Napa County as evacuations are ordered

County Fire burns at a rate of 1,000 acres per hour

The County Fire has crossed into Napa County and continues to explode in size with over 44,500 acres burned.
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The County Fire has crossed into Napa County and continues to explode in size with over 44,500 acres burned.

The huge blaze that sparked Saturday in Yolo County grew substantially overnight Saturday and throughout the day Sunday, now at 32,500 acres with 2 percent containment, according to Cal Fire.

"Firefighters have worked throughout the day to establish control lines. Fire weather conditions remain critical," according to CalFire. "Extreme fire behavior has been observed. Shifting winds have created numerous active portions of the fire that have the potential to increase fire spread."

The County Fire sparked about 2:12 p.m. Saturday and has exploded in magnitude, with more than 100 fire engines and a dozen helicopters responding.

The fire ignited in the rural census-designated place of Guinda, population 254, about 10 miles north of Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks.

By 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Cal Fire updated that the fire burned 22,000 acres with no containment, up from 16,500 four hours earlier, per Cal Fire. But by 7:49 p.m., the fire had grown by 32 percent to 32,500 acres.

At 9:30 a.m., Cal Fire reported that the fire had crossed Yolo/Napa county lines.

Mandatory evacuation orders were updated at 7:49 p.m., in place for the area north of Highway 128, south of County Road 23, east of Berryessa Knoxville Road and residential areas served by Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Pleasant Valley Road.

Road closures have been issued for Northbound County Road 87 from Highway 128, Berryessa Knoxville Road, from the Pope Creek Bridge to the Napa/Lake county line, eastbound Highway 128 at Markley Resort, and Westbound Highway 128 at Pleasant Valley Road.

Pleasant Valley Road, south from Highway 128, remains open to serve traffic into Solano County, CalFire reported.

Evacuation advisory warnings have been ordered for areas north of Quail Canyon Road, south of Highway 128, east of Blue Ridge mountains and west of Pleasant Valley Road.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Boy Scout Cabin in Esparto, 17020 Yolo Ave. Previous evacuation centers at Guinda Grange Hall and in Winters have now closed. Details on evacuation advisories can be found here.

Along County Road 23, resident Katie Martin and her husband were preparing for evacuations around 4 p.m. Their residence is in the evacuation zone, as family members told them earlier, but they had not yet left their home.

Asked when she'll decide it's time to evacuate, Martin said, "When I can see flames come over the hill."

"We have had fires along this valley through the years," Martin said, but nothing that prompted an evacuation order.

Meantime, the couple was wetting down the ground around their house.

"That's all you can really do at this point," she said.

Nearby, Mary Scomona, her husband and kids were "evaluating whether or not to evacuate." The family, which has a herd of goats and several chickens, has lived just south of County Road 23 for two decades and has never had to evacuate, either.

At least 30 structures were threatened as of Saturday evening, Cal Fire officials said.

Cal Fire is operating an incident support base at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland, according to a news release from the city of Woodland. City residents have been asked to stay away from the area in order to allow for fire equipment to use the roads.

More than two dozen crews — including Cal Fire, the Woodland Fire Department, the Davis Fire Department and the Sacramento Fire Department — were coordinating efforts Saturday on the blaze, formerly known as the Guinda Fire. Officially reported at 8,000 acres by the end of Saturday, the blaze had more than doubled in size overnight, at 16,500 acres as of 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

As of 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the evacuation center in Esparto was set up, but mostly empty. Northwest Yolo County, including Esparto and Guinda, is a rural, sparsely populated area with few structures and homes. Many residents who do evacuate their homes find refuge at friends' or family members' homes nearby.

Hot and windy conditions helped the County Fire spread fast and contributed to growth in the Pawnee Fire in Lake County, which broke containment lines Saturday and has grown to 14,150 acres with 73 percent containment as of 7:58 p.m. Sunday.

Mandatory evacuations for the Pawnee Fire are in place in the Double Eagle subdivision, with advisory warnings in effect throughout parts of Lake County. The evacuation center is Lower Lake High School. Up-to-date evacuation updates can be found on the Lake County Sheriff's Office website.

The Pawnee Fire has already destroyed 22 structures and is threatening at least 50 more. More than 2,000 fire personnel have responded so far to the fire, which started June 23.

The County Fire is a vegetation fire. Its cause is still under investigation, Cal Fire says.

Cal Fire reported Sunday night that the red flag warning had expired but conditions still remained hot and dry with erratic winds.

"The fire is capable of making sustained runs due to the type of fuels and topography," Cal Fire said. "An immediate threat exists to the community of Double Eagle."

The National Weather Service had a red flag warning in place for much of Northern California. NWS also tweeted that winds were forecasted to shift toward the west Sunday afternoon.

The Pawnee Fire sparked about 30 miles northwest of the County Fire. Winds in Northern California blew smoke from both fires west toward the coast, but has since shifted east.

The County Fire grew from 1,000 to 4,000 acres within a two-hour span Saturday afternoon after jumping a road.

The temperature in Guinda hovered around 104 degrees Saturday afternoon. Sunday's forecast also saw a high of 104.

The wind-blown smoke plume of the County Fire could be prominently seen from Sacramento on Sunday morning. Satellite imagery shows that smoke from the fire had covered parts of the Bay Area by 7 p.m. Saturday.

Reports of overnight ashfall in counties, including Napa and Sonoma, surfaced Sunday morning on Twitter.

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