Fires

Damage estimate from Valley fire grows

Destroyed homes and vehicles scorched by the Valley fire line Jefferson St. in Middletown on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Tuesday’s figures from Cal Fire show the Valley fire has destroyed 1,238 single-family homes, up from an estimated 1,050 in preceding days, and that containment had reached 75 percent.
Destroyed homes and vehicles scorched by the Valley fire line Jefferson St. in Middletown on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Tuesday’s figures from Cal Fire show the Valley fire has destroyed 1,238 single-family homes, up from an estimated 1,050 in preceding days, and that containment had reached 75 percent. The Associated Press

The estimated number of houses destroyed by the Valley fire in Lake County grew by nearly 200 on Tuesday as firefighters increased containment and assessors performed more detailed counts.

Tuesday’s figures from Cal Fire show the Valley fire has destroyed 1,238 single-family homes, up from an estimated 1,050 in preceding days. Containment has reached 80 percent by Wednesday.

“Initially we do what we call a windshield survey, driving around and getting an idea of where the damage is, and then we get into a more extensive parcel-by-parcel survey of which houses were damaged and which were destroyed,” said Capt. Dan Olson, a Cal Fire spokesman.

Late Tuesday, President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for California, making federal funds available to assist people displaced by wildfires and to support firefighting efforts.

Gov. Jerry Brown had requested declarations for the Valley and Butte fires, which together have burned 147,000 acres in Northern California, killed at least five people and destroyed approximately 1,800 homes.

Obama approved the Valley fire request; the Butte fire request is pending. The Butte fire is 84 percent contained as of Wednesday.

In his letter to Obama on Monday, Brown said four years of drought and multiple disasters in the past year had depleted state resources. There have been 69 major wildfires in California since January, Brown wrote, and they’ve burned triple the acreage of 2014’s fire season.

Hudson Sangree: 916-321-1191, @hudson_sangree

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