|The Wye Fire taken from near Sunrise Shore in Lower Lake on Monday, August 13, 2012. Photo by Thomas Todd.|
CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – The Wye Fire burning east of Clearlake Oaks continued to grow overnight, reaching 7,000 acres by Tuesday morning.
The incident – which includes both the Wye and Walker fires – began burning Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 53 and Walker Ridge Road. The Walker portion of the incident is burning both in Lake and Colusa counties.
Cal Fire said the fire grew another 1,000 acres since Monday night, reaching 7,000 acres. By Tuesday morning, firefighters had reached 30 percent containment on the incident.
Members of Cal Fire Incident Management Team 4 gave the Board of Supervisors an update on the incident on Tuesday morning.
Scott Lindgren, the liaison officer, and Eric Hoffman, the incident commander, showed the board maps of the two fires and discussed firefighters’ progress.
Regarding the Wye fire, “We have good line around the fire right now,” said Lindgren.
Hoffman said that because of the line around the fire they believed they could hold it from growing further.
The Walker Fire – which Lindgren said is burning about half in Lake County and half in Colusa County – had jumped across Highway 20 to the south on Monday afternoon, moving into the Cache Creek Wilderness Area. Lindgren said firefighters were able to hold that spot to 50 acres.
In addition, Lindgren said the east end of the Walker Fire had jumped Bear Valley Road and Bear Creek on Monday and made a good push to the east.
Thanks to additional dozer line put in on Monday night, Lindgren said they believed they could hold the Walker Fire up against Highway 20 and Highway 16.
“We’re feeling pretty confident,” said Lindgren. “We’ve done some good, hard work out there.”
He said there was no wind on the fire currently. “If the wind would have been there, it would have been quite a bit different.”
Supervisor Denise Rushing said a weather change is coming and it is anticipated to bring winds, which Lindgren confirmed.
Rushing also pointed out that defensible space around homes had helped save some residences.
Lindgren agreed. “We can’t do it without the help of the public and defensible space. It’s impossible in these kind of fuel conditions.”
The number of personnel on the incident since Monday had tripled, rising to 1,095, Cal Fire reported.
There also were 134 engines, 30 fire crews, seven air tankers, six helicopters, 17 bulldozers and 15 water tenders.
The fire caused evacuations in the Spring Valley area on Sunday, with the mandatory evacuation order lifted Monday night and residents able to return to their homes with a California Highway Patrol escort.
On Tuesday morning Caltrans said Highway 20 east of Highway 53 remained open. Officials were continuing to escort traffic through the area of highway, where the fire had burned on both sides of the road, damaging guardrails, highway signs and utility lines.
Lindgren told the supervisors that they were continuing to carefully move motorists through that area of Highway 20 due to burned trees that were falling across the roadway.
Caltrans said motorists should expect expect 30 minute delays, and cautioned that drivers watch for emergency equipment and areas of heavy smoke.
The agency said the highway may close again if conditions change.
Cal Fire has set up a public information hotline on the Wye Fire; call 707-967-4207.
Email Elizabeth Larson at email@example.com .
|A view of the Wye and Walker fires taken at around 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 13, 2012. Photo by Jim Robbins.|
|The incident command post for the Wye Fire was set up at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Monday, August 13, 2012. Photo by Trett Bishop.|
|Tents and other living facilities for firefighters were set up at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Monday, August 13, 2012. Photo by Trett Bishop.|