State of emergency in Northern California as Pawnee Fire destroys 22 buildings, threatens 600

State of emergency in Northern California as Pawnee Fire destroys 22 buildings, threatens 600

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation for Lake County on June 25, 2018, due to the effects of the Pawnee Fire, which has destroyed homes, threatened critical infrastructure, caused power outages and the evacuation of residents.

A destructive wildfire that started near Clearlake in Northern California over the weekend forced Governor Brown to declare a state of emergency in Lake County, a rural region particularly hard-hit by fires in recent years, located about 190 km (120 miles) north of San Francisco.

The fire started June 24 and burned very actively throughout June 25 in the Spring Valley area, northeast of Clearlake Oaks in Lake County, driven by low relative humidity, erratic winds, and above normal temperatures.  

As of 19:57 PDT on June 25 (02:57 UTC, June 26), Pawnee fire has consumed 4 250 ha (10 500 acres) and is only 5% contained. 22 structures have been destroyed and another 600 are threatened, according to California state officials.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for the entire Spring Valley community (more than 3 000 people) which includes all roads accessed off of Old Long Valley Road and New Long Valley Road, north of Highway 20. Also, includes Mule Skinner, Long Branch, Watertrough Rd, Flintlock, Muzzleloader, No Guns, Antelope, Cougar, Marianne, Ramrod, and Moccasin. 

In 2017, wildfires in Northern California destroyed more than 100 000 ha (245 000 acres) in Santa Rosa, which is about an hour and a half from Lake County.

The fires destroyed nearly 7 000 structures and killed 42 people, making it one of the worst wildfires in California history.

Featured image: Pawnee Fire on June 25, 2018. Credit: Cal Fire

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