Fires

Hot, dry weather returns as firefighters battle Valley, Butte fires

Jerry McCracken, 61, lost his Cobb home in the Valley fire. He’s been living at the evacuation center set up at the Napa County Fairgrounds.
Jerry McCracken, 61, lost his Cobb home in the Valley fire. He’s been living at the evacuation center set up at the Napa County Fairgrounds. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Fire crews are preparing for higher temperatures and lower humidity as they continue to try to wrangle control of two Central Valley fires.

Last week’s rain helped firefighters as they battled the Valley fire in southern Lake County and the Butte fire in Amador and Calaveras counties. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-upper 90s through Monday.

“We are expecting hotter temperatures and lower humidity,” said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal for the Santa Rosa Fire Department, who is assisting with the Valley fire. “It’s a concern but it’s also why we’ve got more than 4,000 people working on it.”

The Valley fire, which started Sept. 12 near Cobb, has consumed 74,500 acres and was 50 percent contained Saturday. Three people died in the blaze, which destroyed 585 homes.

More than 7,000 structures are still threatened.

Authorities are allowing residents of the Berryessa estates to return to their homes. The road closure at Butts Canyon Road at Aetna Springs Road has been lifted.

The Butte fire, which began Sept. 9, is holding at 70,760 acres burned. Containment ticked up Saturday to 67 percent. Two people died in the fire, which destroyed 511 homes.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has planned community meetings to address needs and answer questions in Amador and Calaveras counties. Amador residents will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Pine Grove Town Hall and Calaveras residents will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bret Harte High School.

Mariam Baksh: 916-321-1673, @mariambaksh

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