Evacuations Lifted For Monticello Fire
WINTERS (CBS13/AP) – A rural fire in Northern California raged throughout the night, challenging firefighters Sunday with rising temperatures and the threat of shifting winds, officials said.
State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said that the so-called Monticello Fire grew in size to 11 square miles, and firefighters have it 30 percent contained. A day earlier, the Yolo County fire had burned 8 square miles.
Sunday evening, Berlant announced that evacuations have been lifted for all areas affected by the fire.
Around 1:20 p.m. Sunday, Cal Fire spokesperson Chris Christopherson said, a bulldozer operator working on building fire control lines on the northern side of the flames was involved in an accident. The bulldozer rolled over as it was working on rugged and steep terrain. The operator was rescued and flown to Kaiser Hospital Vacaville. His condition was not stated.
Firefighters working on the southeast shore of Lake Berryessa on Saturday defended a neighborhood of 40 homes from the flames. Berlant said a potential change in wind could send the flames back in their direction, so an evacuation order remains in place.
“It’s going to be much hotter than it has been in the past week,” he said. “Our concern is that the wind starts to shift and the fire comes back around.”
The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the area will rise to nearly 100 degrees Sunday.
Berlant said firefighters battling another blaze northwest of Lake Berryessa were being reassigned to attack the Monticello Fire, which erupted Friday night near the Monticello Dam that forms the man-made lake. That fire was 80 percent contained after burning nearly 7 square miles and destroying two homes. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.
Lake Berryessa, about 75 miles northeast of San Francisco, is a popular recreation spot that attracts many boaters and campers during the July Fourth weekend.
Meanwhile in Southern California, firefighters battling flames near the mountain town of Julian expected to have the fire fully contained today, Berlant said.
Four firefighters were injured, state fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said. The extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear, and the cause of the fire in central San Diego County was under investigation.
The blaze broke out Thursday, prompting the mandatory evacuation of 200 homes and forcing the cancellation of the town’s Fourth of July parade and celebration.
State fire officials said they were bracing for more fires over the next couple of days.
“The holiday weekend is in full swing,” Berlant said. “There’s still a potential for more fires if the public is not careful.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.