Containment increases on Butte, Valley fires, which rank among state’s worst ever

The Valley fire that scorched Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties now ranks as the third-worst in California history, based on total structures burned.

The toll from the fire, reported at 70 percent contained Monday, climbed to 1,050 houses and 642 outbuildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Three people have been reported killed in the fire, which has consumed 75,781 acres.

Crews were building control lines to prevent the fire from spreading further, officials said. While several communities remained evacuated, officials were allowing some residents back into their homes for the first time, including in the regions around Hidden Valley Lake, Jerusalem Grade, Grange Road and Butts Canyon Road.

Meanwhile, the Butte fire in Amador and Calaveras counties reached 74 percent containment Monday, having destroyed 545 houses and 352 outbuildings. In structures lost, that fire now ranks as the seventh-worst in state history. It has also claimed two lives, Cal Fire reported.

Cal Fire lifted all evacuations for the Butte fire Sunday afternoon.

The Tunnel fire in Oakland Hills ranks as both California’s deadliest fire and its worst in numbers of structures destroyed. Twenty-five people died as the 1991 fire burned 2,900 houses and other structures.

The second-worst death toll came with the Cedar fire, a 2003 San Diego County blaze that killed 15 people and destroyed 2,820 structures. Scorching 273,246 acres, the Cedar fire ranks as the largest California wildfire in total acreage burned.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

Top 10 Most Damaging California Wildfires in Structures Burned

1. Tunnel fire, 1991, Oakland Hills, Alameda County, 2,900 structures

2. Cedar, 2003, San Diego County, 2,820 structures

3. Valley, 2015, Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, 1,692 structures

4. Witch, 2007, San Diego County, 1,650 structures

5. Old, 2003, San Bernardino County, 1,003 structures

6. Jones, 1999, Shasta County, 954 structures

7. Butte, 2015, Amador and Calaveras counties, 897 structures

8. Paint, 1990, Santa Barbara County, 641 structures

9. Fountain, 1992, Shasta County, 636 structures

10. Sayre, 2008, Los Angeles County, 604 structures

Source: Cal Fire

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