Fires

Fires make Sacramento skies hazy as “red flag” warning issued up north

Chimney Fire threatens Hearst Castle

The Chimney Fire grew to 19,909 acres Saturday, and flames inched closer to historic Hearst Castle. Fire crews attempted to stop the encroaching blaze as it crept to within a few miles of the iconic landmark.
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The Chimney Fire grew to 19,909 acres Saturday, and flames inched closer to historic Hearst Castle. Fire crews attempted to stop the encroaching blaze as it crept to within a few miles of the iconic landmark.

The hazy yellow skies in the Sacramento area this weekend are likely the product of at least one of six large wildfires burning mainly in Southern California.

The National Weather Service said it’s difficult to tell which fires are causing the haze because there are no visible smoke trails.

“The only way we determine (if haze is from a fire) is by visible satellite,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Travis Wilson. “If we see a visible smoke plume, then we know it's from a fire.”

Sunday’s air quality in the Sacramento region is expected to stay in the moderate range, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality forecast. In the Stockton area, air quality is expected to become unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Meanwhile, weather and fire officials are warning of heightened danger of wildfires, including from lightning strikes.

Possible afternoon thunderstorms are looming over the northern and central Sierra Nevada Sunday, creating more potential for fires caused by lightning. And Cal Fire has warned that weather conditions are heightening the danger of wildfires Sunday in areas near the Oregon border.

“A Red Flag Warning remains in effect in Siskiyou and Modoc counties in northern California for gusty winds and low humidity,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff wrote in a news release Sunday.

“Temperatures will settle into near normal ranges across the state, and many areas will also see the chance of thunderstorms, which will increase the chance of new lightening-ignited fires.”

Here are the fires burning Sunday, according to Cal Fire:

Clayton Fire, Lake County

Off Hwy 29, Lower Lake area

•3,929 acres, 95 percent contained

•All evacuations have been lifted

•300 structures destroyed, 20 structures damaged

Chimney Fire, San Luis Obispo County

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South of Lake Nacimiento

•24,096 acres, 35 percent contained

•Evacuations in effect

•48 structures destroyed

Blue Cut Fire, San Bernardino County

Off Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass

•37,020 acres, 83 percent contained

•318 structures destroyed

Rey Fire, Santa Barbara County

Paradise Road, north of Santa Barbara

•18,839 acres, 10 percent contained

•Evacuations in effect

Soberanes Fire, Monterey County

Big Sur area

•85,212 acres, 60 percent contained

•Evacuations in effect

•68 structures destroyed including 57 residences

Cedar Fire, Kern County

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Northwest of Lake Isabella, Cedar Creek Campground

•17,986 acres, 5 percent contained

•Evacuations in effect

Some evacuations were being lifted on Tuesday for residents whose homes were threatened by the Clayton Fire. On Monday evening, Cal Fire announced that the Clayton fire had been set and the suspect arrested, Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, who has a le

Tim O'Connell describes the ordeal -- and uncertainty -- of fleeing a raging fire. He dIdn't know Monday if his Lower Lake home was standing. His family camped Sunday night in a high school's parking lot -- one of three evacuation centers in Lake

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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