Crews scramble to protect homes from fierce California wildfire

Smoke from Sugarloaf Fire burning in Grand County drifting into Boulder County

A fast-growing wildfire that broke out over the weekend in Northern California, fueled by parched lands and high winds, prompted evacuations on Sunday and sent ash spewing over a wide area of the region, officials said.

The fire started Saturday in Yolo County and is still active east of Lake Berryessa and along the Napa County line.

What fire crews are calling the Mecca Fire is burning an estimated 900 acres, according to Trey Leonard, fire management officer at Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

The blaze is threatening almost 1,000 structures, and Cal Fire spokesman Anthony Brown said at least 2,500 people have been told to evacuate. It erupted Saturday, June 30, and at times has grown by 1,000 acres an hour. According to a Calfire report at 9:35 p.m. Sunday, the Pawnee Fire in Lake County is now at 14,500 acres but remains at 73 percent containment. "A backfire puts black between the main fire and the main edge so that when it comes down there is nothing left to burn", said Brian Ward of the Eldorado Hotshots.

The spokesperson also said Cal Fire is asking people to use caution when lighting up fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday. That was 17 percent more than the 60,000 acres (24,280 hectares) it had burned as of late Monday.




Shifting winds have been a challenge. "You're going to see folks in fire camp that have been bounced from fire to fire to fire".

Multiple fire crews are on scene of a wildland fire burning west of the Basalt gun range in Eagle County Tuesday evening, the Colorado State Patrol in Eagle said. Small pets were welcome at the evacuation center. The fire, which covers land in Costilla and Huerfano counties, has shut down USA 160 between Fort Garland and La Veta.

A dusting of ash fell as far away as San Francisco, where tourists snapped pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge enveloped in an orange shroud of fog and smoke. Evacuation advisories were also issued for homes near the state's Highway 20.

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco disappeared under a cloud of smoke, and the skies above the city had an eerie golden glow from out-of-control fires spreading across California.

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