County Fire grows to 86,000 acres; some evacuations lifted as crews make progress

The County Fire torching grasslands east of Lake Berryessa reached 86,000 acres but was 30 percent contained as of Thursday morning, double the containment rate reported Tuesday.

Mandatory evacuations have been lifted by the Yolo County Sheriff's Office for areas east of the Yolo/Napa County line to Highway 16 and south of County Road 53 to Highway 128, according to a Cal Fire news release.

Firefighters made inroads thanks to cool, relatively wind-free conditions Wednesday morning, Cal Fire spokesman Jordan Motta said. They used driptorches and flame-shooting pistols to burn tinder-like dry grass before it could be engulfed by the larger flame.

"Firefighters worked aggressively through the day to build containment lines around the County Fire," according to the Cal Fire incident report. "Steep and inaccessible terrain has created difficulty for firefighters on the Northern end of the fire. The favorable weather did little to diminish fire intensity and it remained active throughout the day."

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for residences served by Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Pleasants Valley Road, west of Highway 16 to Berryessa Knoxville Road, south of County Road 40 and north of County Road 53. Nearly 3,500 fire personnel from 73 crews had stepped forward to attempt to contain the County Fire, which began Saturday in Guinda.

Cal Fire officials said 980 structures were threatened as of Tuesday night, and the city of Winters postponed its annual fireworks show because of the poor air quality and high fire risk.

Evacuations were also recommended north of Quail Canyon Road in Solano County, south of Highway 128, east of Blue Ridge mountains, west of Pleasant Valley Road, east of Capell Valley Road, north of Highway 128 from Capell Valley Road east to the Napa County line, north of Highway 128 in Yolo County excluding Winters, south of County Road 23, east of Berryessa Knoxville Road and west of County Road 89 south of Esparto.

The Pawnee Fire has chewed up 15,000 acres of Lake County land but is 90 percent contained. It had destroyed 22 structures, threatened 50 more and left one person injured as of Wednesday morning, according to Cal Fire.

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