Pawnee Fire in Northern California Destroys 8,200 Acres, 22 Structures

 

At least 8,200 acres have been burned and 22 structures destroyed as wind-driven wildfires in northern California continue to rage through the dry brush in Lake County. 

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Lake County Monday due to the Pawnee Fire which broke out Saturday afternoon near the community of Clearlake Oaks. 

Authorities have ordered around 3,000 people to evacuate homes in the Spring Valley area. 

"Overnight we saw the winds kind of shift from a northwest direction to a direct west direction, so that's pushing the fire east," said CAL FIRE Captain Jordan Motta.

"Now while there are still homes to the east of the fire, what's also out there are burn scars from past fires such as the Walker Fire, which happened about five years ago. If the fire continues towards that area of the burn scars, the fuels are a lot less dense from where the fire is now. So, it will really help us contain the fire" said Motta.

So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported in the Pawnee Fire. 

Right now, about 600 homes are still threatened in the Spring Valley area which is located northeast of Clearlake Oaks. A shelter has been set up at Lower Lake High School where residents can stay while evacuations are in place. 

"What we're stressing is that people, when they get the evacuation order, they heed it immediately and get out and stay out until it is safe to return," state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. "This is one of four large fires burning in Northern California. It's a good reminder that fire season is upon us."

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