A 16,500-acre wildfire grew overnight near Northern California’s wine country, and officials fear gusty winds could continue to drive flames into dry woodlands.
The Jerusalem fire chewed through another 4,500 acres Tuesday night, prompting residents near the Napa and Yolo county lines to flee their homes, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said at least 150 homes were evacuated, and the fire was threatening 50 structures.
The National Weather Service has issued a fire watch along the northern Sierra Nevada from the Tahoe Basin to Modoc County. Strong, gusty winds and low humidity have elevated the fire danger.
Temperatures were five degrees below normal for this time of year, according to the weather service. But warmer temperatures were expected this weekend as a strong high-pressure system from the Southwest desert builds. The Central Valley could see triple-digit temperatures,
Gusty winds and dry conditions are causing fires in Northern California to grow rapidly, Cal Fire said.
The blaze burning northeast of Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake spread from Lake to Napa County, fire officials said. Flames connected with the 69,636-acre Rocky fire burning near Lower Lake.
Fire crews created a firebreak between a blackened southwest portion of the Rocky fire and the northwest portion of the Jerusalem fire, scorching an area of unburned dry brush and essentially connecting the two, Firefighter Steve Swindle said.
Cal Fire officials say the Jerusalem fire is consuming dry, heavy brush, and the lack of road access is hampering efforts to suppress flames.
The Rocky and Jerusalem fires are two of 16 wildfires burning in California, mostly in the northern part of the state.
More than 11,000 firefighters are battling blazes, with aid from Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
The causes of the Rocky and Jerusalem fires are under investigation.
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