Vacaville Blaze Spreads; More Homes Threatened
An arson fire that had consumed at least 15,000 acres along the Napa-Solano county line was spreading toward the western edge of the city Monday night, authorities said.
The fire, driven by 35 m.p.h. wind gusts, was withing a half mile of about 50 homes and the more than 670 firefighters on the lines feared the flames could reach the structures if the westerly winds prevailed, California Department of Forestry spokeswoman Alleah Haley said.
A voluntary evacuation notice was issued to the home owners and Pleasants Valley Road was closed, but no structures were reported burned in that area of the fire, Haley said.
Slowed by higher humidity during the day the blaze was 50% contained by late Monday.
But estimates that the fire would be out by 8 a.m. Wednesday had to be abandoned when the blaze jumped the lines near Vacaville.
Nine homes, three outbuildings and $7 million worth of telecommunications equipment were burned Sunday in the fire that sent a fine layer of ash into the skies over the Pacific and smoke as far away as Monterey, 100 miles to the south.
Transmission equipment owned by MCI, AT&T;, PG&E;, Pacific Bell and several local government agencies, among others, was damaged.
An incendiary device was recovered in Miller Canyon, where most of the destroyed homes were located, Forestry Department Capt. John Ferriera said.
Three other blazes have started in the area since Saturday, including a 700-acre fire in Wragg Canyon dubbed the “resort fire,” and a five-acre fire that was fully contained in the Turtle Rock area. The resort fire, believed to have been started by a truck driving through dry grass, was declared fully contained Monday morning.
Meanwhile, crews fighting the Fern fire about 20 miles east of Redding in Shasta County reported progress, with 60% of that 7,790-acre fire contained. Forestry Department spokeswoman Sharon Wages said complete containment was expected at 6 p.m. Monday and control at 6 p.m. today.
Six homes and six other structures were burned.