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Fast-moving wildfire scorches 1,500 acres in ‘extremely dry’ Sonoma County

A fast-growing wildfire has exploded across 1,500 acres in Sonoma County and triggered evacuations for dozens of residents amid dry conditions and possible record-breaking heat Monday.

The Sawmill fire, which is 20% contained, started at 10:50 a.m. Sunday off Big Geysers Road and Geysers Resort Road about 10 miles east of the picturesque city of Cloverdale, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Mandatory evacuations were issued for residents who live in the Geysers area.

The firefight has been difficult for crews, fire officials said.

A water tender truck rolled over on Geysers Road on Sunday afternoon as its crew was headed to the blaze, Cal Fire said. No firefighters were injured in the crash.

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Access to the blaze also has been challenging for firefighters. Flames are smoldering in steep hillsides blanketed in dense grass and pockets of oak, Cal Fire said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“The vegetation is extremely dry due to the past five years of drought conditions,” the fire agency said.

Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the wildfire is burning in an area scorched by the 76,067-acre Valley fire, which killed four people and consumed 1,958 structures in September 2015 in southern Lake County.

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“This is definitely a region that over history has seen a lot of activity,” he said.

The scorching heat presented more challenges for firefighters tackling the flames, said Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Scott McLean.

Firefighters faced dry conditions, powerful winds and sweltering heat Monday due to a strong high pressure system moving over the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas.

Temperatures soared into the 80s inland and low 90s near the Bay Area coast, according to the National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area office.

By 5 a.m. Monday, temperatures had already reached 67 degrees in the Bay Area, the weather service said.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

1:25 p.m.: This article was updated with new details about where the fire is burning.

8:45 a.m.: This article was updated with the latest containment numbers.

This article was originally published at 7 a.m.


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