California Pawnee Fire destroys 12 structures, forces evacuations

By Daniel Uria  |  June 24, 2018 at 5:48 PM
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June 24 (UPI) -- Thousands of people in California were ordered to evacuate and a dozen structures were destroyed by a wildfire that started Saturday afternoon.

The Pawnee fire grew to 1,500 acres, destroyed 12 structures and threatened 600 structures as of Sunday morning, prompting mandatory evacuations for 3,000 residents in the entire Spring Valley community including all roads accessed off of Old Long Valley Road and New Long Valley Road, north of Highway 20, according to Cal Fire.

"The fire burned actively throughout the night in the Spring Valley area, north east of Clearlake Oaks in Lake County. The fire is being driven by low relative humidity, erratic winds, and above normal temperatures," Cal Fire said.

Dale Carnathan, emergency services manager for Lake County, told The Press-Democrat an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people live in the area of the fire.

"It's not greatly populated, but there's only one road in and out of that valley," Carnathan said. "We don't know at this point whether those structures are residences, barns or out buildings."

No percentage of containment was announced and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Pacific Gas and Electric said about 600 of its customers in the area of the fire were without power after the company shut off power in response to a Cal Fire request shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday.

"We have approximately 20 power poles and associated wires in the general affected area," G&E representative Ari Vanrenen said.

Cal Fire said a total of 237 personnel and 32 fire engines were dispatched to combat the blaze.

"The management of the fire has been assigned to a Cal Fire management team," said Carnathan.

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