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Lake County fire half contained at 13,700 acres [Updated]

“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”

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Update - June, 29: Although Lake County’s Pawnee Fire grew to an estimated size of 13,700 acres this week, Cal Fire now reported 56 percent containment of the blaze as of Friday morning.

The Sheriff’s Department suspended some evacuation orders on Thursday, allowing for people in the Double Eagle area to return home.

Cal Fire advises residents to use caution when returning home in the wake of a fire, even if the burn didn’t get particularly close to your neighborhood:

Once home check for the following: Check grounds for hot spots, smoldering stumps, and vegetation, check the roof and exterior areas for sparks or embers, check the attic and throughout your house for any hidden burning sparks or embers, check for fire damage to your home, turn off all appliances and make sure the meter is not damaged before turning on the main circuit breaker. [...] Post fire communities are still at risk and need to be prepared for flood, mudslides, debris flow and surface erosion.

Update - June, 26: On Tuesday morning, Cal Fire reported that the conflagration has grown to consume 10,500 acres and 22 buildings, with little indication that the blaze is slowing down. Although the department reports 237 firefighter personnel assigned to combat the blaze, crews have achieved only five percent containment as the fire enters its third day.

Evacuation orders are still in effect and still mandatory. Anyone in the Spring Valley area—including those living on any of the outlying roads listed below—should report to the evacuation center at Lower Lake High School immediately, even if they do not believe the fire threatens their homes.

Additionally, evacuees should note that according to Cal Fire, “New Long Valley Road is closed at Highway 20 [and] Old Long Valley Road is closed at Highway 20” due to fire conditions.

Governor Jerry Brown’s state of emergency order from Monday remains in effect.

The evacuation center in Lower Lake.

On Monday morning, Cal Fire reported that a wildfire in Lake County had grown to 8,200 acres, and ordered nearby communities to evacuate as containment efforts continued.

According to the Cal Fire’s Pawnee Fire Incident page:

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for the entire Spring Valley community, 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.

Evacuation center: Lower Lake High School 9430 Lake Street, Lower Lake, CA

Animal staging is located at Social Service Center, 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake, CA.

The fire is presently situated south of the Mendocino National Forest and north of the town of Clearlake Oaks. Cal Fire reports zero percent containment on the blaze, which began late Saturday.

Lake County residents whose homes are within the area of the evacuation order should decamp to the center at Lower Lake High School immediately.

An animal staging area is available at the Social Service Center at 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway.

Even if you do not believe the fire poses any danger to your home, evacuation orders are mandatory, and refusing to heed them is actually a crime.

Fire conditions may change rapidly and unexpectedly. During the 2017 fire season, delays of only a few minutes had life and death consequences in some cases.

“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 told CBS SF Monday.

At last count, the fire has destroyed a dozen structures and threatens hundreds more, growing in size by more than 1,000 acres just since Sunday night.