Massive Valley Fire is at 75,711 Acres and 70 Percent Containment - NBC Bay Area
California Wildfires

California Wildfires

Coverage of brush fires across the state

Massive Valley Fire is at 75,711 Acres and 70 Percent Containment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Schools are now reopening and many evacuees are being allowed to return home after devastated Valley Fire, which as of Monday, had charred 75, 781 acres and was 70 percent contained. Stephanie Chuang reports. (Published Monday, Sept. 21, 2015)

    A wildfire that has burned parts of Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties for just over a week is 70 percent contained as of Monday morning, one percent more than the night before, according to Cal Fire.

    The Valley Fire, which spread quickly after sparking at about 1:25 p.m. on Sept. 12, has burned 75,781 acres, killed three people and injured four firefighters by Monday morning, Cal Fire officials said.

    The fire has also destroyed at least 888 structures and threatens roughly 6,563 more homes, Cal Fire said. Damage assessment teams are still working in the area, and the number of affected structures may increase by several hundred as more information becomes available, firefighters noted.

    As of Sunday morning, 4,383 fire personnel were battling the flames and being assisted by 437 fire engines, two airtankers, 22 helicopters, 56 dozers and 75 water tenders, Cal Fire said.

    "All of our lives have been changed," Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said. "We’re at the point now to start the recovery process. We’ve been working hard to get a sense of normalcy returned and for some, it will never be normal. But for others, we have to rebuild."

    Some evacuation orders are being lifted Monday at 5 p.m. for North Loch Lomond, Seigler Springs and Bonanza Springs, according to Cal Fire.

    Residents of the Hidden Valley Lake, Jerusalem Grade, Grange Road and Butts Canyon Road communities will be allowed to return to their homes at 12 p.m. Sunday, Cal Fire said. Highway 29 was also reopened without restrictions at 1 p.m., according to the Napa County Office of Emergency Services.

    People who live in hard-hit Middletown were able to go home Saturday. But officials said evacuations remain in effect for Butts Canyon Road west of Snell Valley Road, on Aetna Springs Road west of Butts Canyon Road and James Creek Road west of Butts Canyon Road.

    The Valley Fire has been ranked the sixth most damaging fire in California's history based on the number of structures damaged, Cal Fire officials said. 

    Meanwhile, in nearby Amador and Calaveras counties, the Butte Fire, by Monday morning, had charred 70,760 acres and was 74 percent contained. It has also claimed two lives, per Cal Fire.

    Officials said the blaze has destroyed 535 homes and 347 outbuildings. The flames also have damaged 41 structures and continues to be dangerous for 6,400 more.

    A Cal Fire update Sunday showed that 3,866 fire personnel are battling the Butte Fire, using 343 fire engines, seven helicopters, 31 dozers and 37 water tenders.

    The agency's spokesman Daniel Berlant tweeted just after 10 a.m. that all mandatory evacuation orders related to the Butte Fire have been lifted.

    However, officials reminded people who live in the affected area that a safety advisory remains in place. Emergency vehicles and personnel continue to work in the area, Cal Fire said, asking people to remain watchful of active fires. 

    Raji Ramanathan contributed to this report.

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