Posted: 9:18 a.m. Sunday, July 6, 2014

Firefighters save homes; Monticello Fire grows to 7,000 acres

Monticello Fire
Monticello Fire

KTVU.com and wires

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. —

Firefighters continued to battle a large wildland fire near Lake Berryessa that as of Sunday morning had spread to 7,000 acres and was 30 percent contained, fire officials said.

Despite the quick growth of the fire, crews held back the blaze on Saturday, saving about 40 homes during a busy holiday weekend that saw several destructive fires across the state.

Tinder dry conditions and rising temperatures fueled the fire on the southeast shore of Lake Berryessa, which quickly consumed about 8 square miles of rolling hillsides, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

"The fire burned right up to the homes," he said. "The firefighters took a stand and were able to protect the homes as it was raging through the neighborhood."

Berlant said firefighters battling the nearby Butts Fire were being reassigned to attack the Monticello Fire which erupted Friday night near the Monticello Dam. It is an area where the Solano, Napa and Yolo county lines converge

The Alameda County Fire Department on Sunday was sending five crews consisting of 17 firefighters to help battle the fire.

Meanwhile, the Butts Fire was 75 percent contained by Saturday night and had burned 4,300 acres and destroyed two homes.

Both fires have been challenging to fight because they are burning  in a remote, rugged and steep area that is difficult to access.

"The terrain is making it difficult," Berlant told KTVU.

A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for Golden Bear Estates in the city of Winters in Yolo County, according to Cal Fire.  About 350 fire personnel were at the scene and focusing on building control lines around the subdivision.

    The Canyon Creek Resort Campground has also been evacuated. An evacuation shelter set up at the Winters Community Center.

    There were 25 fire engines, six crews and six dozers at the scene, Cal Fire officials said. Two air tankers are also making drops on the fire.

    State Highway 128 is closed in the Lake Berryessa area east of Canyon Creek Resort Campground to Pleasant Valley Road, fire officials said.

    About 350 fire personnel are at the scene and focusing on building control lines around the Golden Bear Estates, according to Cal Fire officials.

    At least six bulldozers, four airtankers, two water tankers and three helicopters are being used by fire personnel to fight the blaze, according to Cal Fire's website.

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