By Kelly Ryan

YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — The County Fire has continued its sprawl in Yolo County, sending poor air quality into the Sacramento region.

The flames were first seen off of Highway 16 at County Road 63 near Rumsey Canyon on Saturday afternoon. Now, the fire is above the town of Winters and east of Lake Berryessa.

The fire stretched more than 60,000 acres on Monday, an area more than twice the size of Lake Berryessa. No structures have been destroyed by the flames.

Mandatory evacuations are in place north of Highway 128, not including Winters, along Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Pleasant Valley Road, South of Road 23 and east of Berryessa Knoxville Road.

Ralph Criner, 84, built his home off of Country Road 23 in Yolo County and has lived in it for 47 years.

“We’ve never seen anything like this close,” he said. “We thought it’s going to burn out or move over the hill, but it didn’t.”

With mandatory evacuations for the area, he wasn’t planning on leaving until sheriff’s deputies showed up.

“They just said, ‘You’re going to have to evacuate,’ and I said ‘No I am not,’ and he said ‘Sir, I think you are,'” he said.

The fire is just three percent contained, and fire officials say shifting winds are letting the fire grow quickly.

“It’s obviously hard to see from the valley floor, but that’s just because it’s so well-established up in the remote areas of the mountains,” said Cal Fire division chief Chris Anthony.

Crews on the ground and in the air are working to get a handle on it.

“Air tankers and very large air tankers and helicopters all assigned to the incident,” he said.

The flames haven’t destroyed any structures, but they have forced the cancellation of a fireworks show. Winters has never cancelled its Fourth of July fireworks show, but with the County Fire still far from containment, the show will not go on Wednesday night.

City manager John Donlevy says the show attracts thousands of people, almost twice the population of Winters, each year.

“The idea that we are going to go and shoot fireworks 600 feet in the air just isn’t a good idea right now,” he said.

The biggest impact from the fire so far has been smoke. An eerie cloud blanketed the Bay Area over the weekend, and now people east of the flames are finding smoke and ash drifting in. Sacramento’s Air Quality Index has been steadily on the rise and hit 110, or unhealthy for sensitive groups. A shift in the winds could send even more smoke into the area.


Leave a Reply