Hundreds of homes destroyed by wildfire

Fast moving fire forces more than 10,000 to flee in Northern California

September 13, 2015


Hundreds of homes and other buildings were destroyed Sunday as a wildfire swept across northern California communities in Lake and Napa Counties.

Middletown, a town of about 1,300, was devastated as fire hydrants ran dry Saturday night hampering the efforts of firefighters battling the Valley Fire which was first reported Saturday afternoon.

By Sunday afternoon, more than 50,000 acres had been consumed by the flames and more than 10,000 people had been ordered to evacuate.

"It’s moving incredibly fast," Veronica Barclay, a Cal Fire spokeswoman told the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday morning. "It’s very dry due to the ongoing drought and there is just a lot of fuel up here."

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for people in the communities of Cobb, Seigler Canyon, Loch Lomond, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lakes.

"While crews have not had a chance to to a full damage assessment on the Valley Fire, we know hundreds of structures have been destroyed," Daniel Berlant, Chief of Public Information for Cal Fire, said Sunday afternoon.

California's governor, Jerry Brown, declared a state of emergency in Lake and Napa Counties Sunday. By making the declaration, the California National Guard may be deployed in areas hit hardest by the wildfires.

Kelseyville Presbyterian (PCUSA) Church and the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga were set up as evacuation centers for survivors on Sunday. Kelseyville High School was opened Sunday morning as a shelter according to the Lake County OES. Petaluma Animal Services is providing care for evacuated pets and other animals.

Lake County, is one of the poorer counties in California. The average per capita income in Middletown in 2013 was estimated to be $25,879

Triple digit temperatures, an on-going drought and strong winds have all contributed to a near record number of wildfires in the state this year.


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