Lake County Battles Another Destructive Fire

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the Pawnee fire just nine months after the devastating North Bay fires.

The Pawnee Fire in Lake County (Photo courtesy of Cal Fire)

UPDATE, 6/26 12:50 p.m.: The Pawnee fire grew to 11,500 acres and is five percent contained. Cal Fire did not report additional damaged structures or injuries.

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Less than a year after the devastating North Bay fires, thousands are evacuating Lake County after a fire broke out Saturday evening.

As of Monday morning, the Pawnee fire has destroyed 22 structures and burned through 8,200 acres (approximately a quarter of San Francisco’s total size), according to Cal Fire. Another 600 structures are threatened, mandatory evacuations have been ordered, and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the county.

The weekend heat paired with erratic winds and low relative humidity fueled the flames, that began around Pawnee and New Long Valley Road. As of 9 a.m. authorities report that the fire is uncontained, and there are no reported injuries so far.

Earlier this month, Cal Fire determined that the failure of a PG&E power line caused the county’s Sulphur Fire in October 2017, along with 11 other fires in Northern California that led Brown to declare a state of emergency.

Though no one reported injuries, the 2017 Lake County fire burned through 2,207 acres and 162 structures. Collectively, the North Bay fires claimed 43 lives and were the deadliest in state history.

Firefighters are battling the fire and residents are fleeing the Pawnee fire before Cal Fire can begin to determine if a PG&E line is also the cause. Evacuation centers are set up at Lower Lake High School and, for animals, at the Social Service Center on Anderson Ranch Parkway.

The Pawnee fire comes nine months after the North Bay fires began and while the region is still in recovery mode. At this rate, California and its fire officials are constantly bracing for an ever-extending fire season.

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