UKIAH, Calif. - Firefighters are keeping an extremely cautious eye on the Hopkins Fire, which sprang to life Sunday in the tiny town of Calpella, just north of Ukiah.
Since the Hopkins Fire broke out Sunday, the fight has gone from straight up fire fight with ground crews, aircraft and bulldozers, to a effort to extinguish all hot spots.
"They were able to stop forward progress at about 10:30 last night which I think is amazing. It was a lot of good hard work. So we had approximately 262 fire service personnel on the ground in responding to this incident in addition to aircraft." said Cal Fire Information Officer Tricia Austin.
Nonetheless, the fire quickly consumed 257 acres and is officially 20% contained because of possible approaching winds. "It started off small, like every fire. But, this, it's just crazy. There's no words for it," said Calpella Fire Department Captain Ruben Rojas.
No official count of damages is tallied, but numerous homes a KTVU crew saw were completely destroyed.
"There's probably 20 home that are burned at least," said Perry Bates. who was able to help firefighters save his home. "Clear all the brush away from your home as you can. One of the things a Cal Fire guy told me, if they can't defend your house, they will drive away. So if you don't have your house where they can get to it to try to save it, they'll let it burn," said Mr. Bates.
Calpella homeowner Jonathan Orr, saw the first smoke.
"So we just continued on working in the yard and then, it got a little bigger. So we took a drive, crossed the bridge and it was catching the side of the creek bed on fire pretty good. So, that's when we got worried, came back and hooked up hoses and started spraying down the fence line at the bottom of the property, said Mr. Orr.
With virtually all of the flames laying down, this would normally move into a mop up operation. But, not now. The humidity is so low and the chance for sea winds coming on and kicking up the flames again, are very high. So, in fact, this fire is anything by over.