Video: Emergency briefing on Lake County fire

(KRON) During the KRON4 News at 8pm Sunday evening fire officials held a briefing on the Lake County fire that has destroyed at least 10 homes a number of businesses in downtown Lower Lake.

On Sunday afternoon, the flames jumped a road and marched into Main Street in Lower Lake, a town of about 1,200. A post office, a winery, a Habitat for Humanity office and several businesses were burned in the four-block strip.

A portion of Clearlake, a neighboring town of about 15,000, was also evacuated as firefighters struggled to get a handle on the largely out-of-control fire.

“Emotions are still incredibly raw from the Valley Fire,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire about last year’s wildfire.

“I don’t think any of us thought we’d be back where we are tonight,” he said.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon and grew to nearly 5 square miles as firefighters struggled to get a handle on the largely out-of-control blaze amid triple-digit temperatures and windy conditions.

The fire was creating its own weather pattern and shifted northward into Lower Lake in the afternoon, said Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire was throwing embers and spreading rapidly because of parched conditions brought on by the state’s historic drought, officials said. Large, explosive fires have torn through dried-out or hard-to-reach areas across California this summer, including a stubborn blaze near the picturesque Big Sur coastline that has burned 113 square miles since late July and destroyed nearly 60 homes.

Lower Lake residents evacuated last year because of a wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.

It was considered California’s third-most-destructive wildfire after ravaging most of rural Lake County and parts of Napa County. A report issued this week concluded that faulty wiring in a hot tub ignited the 120-square-mile fire.

Lt. Doug Pittman, a Marin County sheriff’s spokesman who was working on behalf of Cal Fire, said residents fled their homes very quickly this weekend.


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