Wildfire briefing, July 5, 2014

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Map of California wildfires from CALFire.
Map of California wildfires from CALFire.

California fire crews this week battled a series of wildfires, which burned homes in San Diego County and threatened vineyards in the Napa Valley wine country. As of Thursday, 80 percent of the state was considered to be in “exceptional” or “extreme” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The entire state has been in a “severe” drought since April, the first time that has happened in 15 years, The Los Angeles Times reported. 

  • The Monticello Fire was first reported at 9:33 p.m. PDT July 4. The fire started on the southeast shore of Lake Berryessa, northwest of the Napa Valley area. The fire grew from 1,600 acres on Saturday morning to 5,000 acres by the afternoon; it was 15 percent contained as of 4:45 p.m. PDT. One neighborhood and one campground were evacuated. Two-hundred firefighters, one helicopter and four airtankers were assigned to fight the blaze.
  • As of Saturday morning, all evacuation orders for the Butts Fire have been lifted, according to CALFire. Also called the Pope Valley fire, the blaze started on July 1 on the northwest side of Lake Berryessa and destroyed two homes and seven outbuildings. At 4,300 acres, the fire was 70 percent contained as of 7:45 a.m. PDT July 5. Read more of our coverage of the Butts Fire. 
  • The Banner Fire in San Diego County was declared 90 percent contained as of 7:45 a.m. PDT Saturday. The fire started on July 3 and went on to burn only 217 acres, but destroyed two homes and one outbuilding.
  • A small grass fire broke out near Sacramento on July 4, prompting the rapid evacuation of people from a water park at the Cal Expo fairgrounds. The fire ignited around 2 p.m. PDT and was extinguished more than two hours later, after it sent a massive smoke plume over Sacramento. Nonetheless, Fourth of July festivities were not to be deterred–officials decided to go ahead with the city’s fireworks’ display at the fairgrounds while smoke still lingered in the air, The Sacramento Bee reported. 

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