Fires

Wall fire devastation: 41 homes destroyed, 5,800 acres burned

Wall Fire victim shares his terrifying story

Steve Orsillo describes the moment his family decided it was time to evacuate and how he'll deal with the loss of his home.
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Steve Orsillo describes the moment his family decided it was time to evacuate and how he'll deal with the loss of his home.

The toll exacted by the Wall Fire in Butte County has risen to 41 homes destroyed, according to new figures released Tuesday by Cal Fire.

The Wall Fire broke out Friday afternoon along Chinese Wall Road north of the small town of Bangor, which is southeast of Oroville. Thousands of people have been evacuated as firefighters worked to save their homes.

The blaze is now reported to have consumed 5,800 acres. It was reported 45 percent contained – an increase of 5 percent since Monday night.

“Firefighters are going to be constructing new lines around the fire,” Cal Fire spokesman Gabe Lauderdale said Tuesday morning. “We are going to be looking for that containment percentage come up in the next operational period. It’s going to be hot and dry.”

Cal Fire released figures Tuesday that show the devastation in Butte County as a result of the Wall Fire: 41 single-family homes destroyed, 46 smaller structures destroyed and two commercial structures destroyed.

Evacuation orders and warnings are still in effect. An evacuation center is set up at the Church of the Nazarene, 2238 Monte Vista Ave., in Oroville. Inspection teams are continuing to evaluate the extent of the fire damage, according to Cal Fire.

Meanwhile, another blaze erupted Monday afternoon southwest of the Wall Fire. The Honcut Fire burned 166 acres before it was completely contained.

Other fires continued to spark around the state, including the Farad Fire that broke out at 1 p.m. Monday 12 miles northeast of Truckee near Interstate 80 and the California-Nevada line. The blaze has grown to 600 acres and has intermittently closed the interstate, including Tuesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol reported shortly before 3 p.m. that eastbound and westbound I-80 were open, although westbound traffic was restricted to the left lane. The CHP was escorting traffic between Farad and the state line as helicopters were crossing the interstate.

A CHP Truckee Facebook post cautioned I-80 motorists not to stop to take pictures or videos, warning that they would be cited as the area remained an active fire zone.

The Farad Fire was reported 5 percent contained with 600 acres burned Tuesday morning.

Because of the I-80 closure, Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe experienced high-traffic volumes, the CHP’s South Lake Tahoe Office reported.

Meanwhile, the Winters Fire in Yolo County, which was the focus of Cal Fire attention late last week, is mostly contained. The fire, which broke out Thursday afternoon southwest of Winters, was reported Tuesday to have burned 2,269 acres and is 90 percent contained.

The California Highway Patrol reports Tuesday morning that Interstate 80 is closed in both directions, westbound traffic at the Nevada state line and eastbound traffic at Highway 267. Mount Rose Highway the preferred alternate route, according to

Oroville resident Richard Snelson, 60, spent most of Monday believing he lost everything after being evacuated Saturday. Additional photos by Rick Wolf.

Butte County resident Rick Wolfe waited to evacuate his home until he could feel the heat from the Wall fire approaching the night of Saturday, July 8, 2017. He shot video of the flames until then.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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