San Jose

Pawnee Fire Grows; Containment at 30 Percent

The Pawnee Fire in Lake County has increased in size to 13,700 acres, but fire crews have continued to make progress with 30 percent containment as of Wednesday evening, Cal Fire officials said.

The fire is being driven by low relative humidity, erratic winds, and above normal temperatures that are feeding heavy vegetation in the area.

The blaze that started at 5:21 p.m. Saturday has destroyed 22 structures, damaged 4 others and threatens 600 more, fire officials said. There have been no injuries to firefighters or civilians since the blaze started.

The Pawnee Fire continues to destroy buildings and burn through acres in Lake County as it enters its third day. Melissa Colorado reports.

Fire departments from around the Bay Area, including Alameda County, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, San Jose and the San Mateo County Fire Department have sent crews to battle the blaze.

Evacuations have been ordered for the entire Spring Valley community, according to fire officials. An evacuation center has been setup at Lower Lake High School at 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake.

"The cops came and said 'You got to leave,'" said evacuee Faydra Perkett. "I just broke down crying because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do."

Some families have been living in their cars and under canopies with kids and some having to leave pets behind.

"We went back and forth. Do we go? Do we stay? If we go, we can’t get back in. We left our cats, we got our dogs," said Gina Ponsetto.

U.S. Forest Service crews stopped by Wednesday to deiver water and other cold drinks.

"It’s a small gesture but it’s the least that we can do," said Jesse Penland frin Shasta Lake Hotshots. "We really want to help the people that have been displaced by the fire.”

Although it seems like fire crews are getting this one under control and some of the evacuees can return home, California’s first fire of the season came too soon.

"About every three or four years, we always end up getting a fire but never in June. It always happens in August," said resident Wayne Petratuona.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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