Crews increase containment of Shasta County wildfire; evacuations still in effect

Fire crews held the lines overnight, and increased containment of the 600-acre Mountain Fire, which roared to life Thursday morning and threatened a region ravaged by last summer’s deadly Carr Fire.

The Mountain Fire began shortly after 11 a.m. in Bella Vista, northeast of Redding, and quickly spread across dense, brushy terrain, growing to 600 acres by evening. At one point, it doubled in size in less than an hour.

By 4 p.m., the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office reported that nearly 4,000 residents were evacuated, and about 1,100 homes were threatened by the fire. At least one house was destroyed.

“Erratic fire behavior influenced by windy conditions and steep terrain challenged firefighters into mid-afternoon,” CalFire said in an incident update.

As winds calmed, crews made progress building containment lines and staunching the spread of the fire. The fire was 40 percent contained by Friday morning, Cal Fire said.

Shasta College said its campus was evacuated — prompting officials to relocate an emergency shelter that had been set up at the college to Crosspointe Community Church, 2960 Hartnell Road, in Redding.

Evacuation orders remain in effect Thursday morning, but Dry Creek Road at Highway 299 was reopened.

Updated road closures will be at Bear Mountain Road from Christian Way to Dry Creek Road, Squaw Grass Trail at Dry Creek Road. Elk Trail West at Dry Creek Road, northbound Intermountain Road and westbound Alice Lane, Cal Fire said.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it cut power to 1,211 customers at Cal Fire’s request once the fire started. The shutoff wasn’t part of the troubled utility’s program that calls for imposing blackouts during dry, windy days to prevent fires from starting, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Power was expected to be restored to Jones Valley this morning.

Cal Fire – the state Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention – has 580 fire personnel assigned to the fire, including 50 fire engines, six dozers, 14 water tenders and four helicopters.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Molly Sullivan covers crime, breaking news and police accountability for The Bee. She grew up in Northern California and is an alumna of Chico State.