Clearlake takes direct hit in Cache Fire, at least 60 homes destroyed

A quick-moving wildfire in Lake County burned at least 60 homes and forced evacuations in the communities of Lower Lake and Clearlake on Wednesday. The Cache Fire has consumed 80 acres, and forward progress has been stopped.

The Cache Fire started burning in vegetation near Cache Street and 6th Avenue in Clearlake, Cal Fire's local unit said. Officials said the fire started at around 1 p.m. and by evening had reached 20% containment. 

By 3:50 p.m., the fire was about 50 to 75 acres Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin told KTVU. One civilian was injured in the fire, Martin added. The victim was a woman who suffered moderate injuries from burns. 

Alan D. Flora, the Clearlake director of emergency services, declared a local emergency by Wednesday evening. Flora's declaration said Pacific Gas and Electric infrastructure was damaged in the fire. The city official said the majority of Creekside Mobile Home Park was destroyed along with damage to portions of Cache Creek Mobile Home Park. The parks are home to many seniors and low-income residents. 

The proclamation goes on to California Governor's Office of Emergency Services for review. 

Residents at one of the mobile home parks told KTVU they heard the fire invading with the sound of exploding propane tanks. 

Still, Martin was optimistic that the worst danger of the Cache Fire had subsided.

The drought-parched region is expected to see red flag warnings for dangerously high winds and hot, dry weather through Thursday. 

Buildings could be seen burning in videos shared on social media.

One resident said he was suspicious of how the fire started and mentioned previous issues, including fires at a nearby homeless encampment, but that information was unconfirmed. 

Cal Fire is investigating how the fire began and said it is too early to say what the potential cause of the fire is.

State Senator Mike McGuire, who represents the area, tweeted that he would be working with Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and the affected community on recovery and debris cleanup in the weeks to come. 

An evacuation shelter has been established at Kelseyville High School. Just before 8 p.m., officials said evacuation orders for some areas were no longer in effect. Residents of Cache Creek Apartments could return home. Evacuation orders remained in place for other areas.

A map showing the areas under evacuation is available here

More information from the sheriff's office about mandatory evacuation orders and warnings are here

Associated Press contributed to this report.