The fire essentially doubled in size from Monday to Tuesday, and then grew still more to reach the current 16,500 acres.
Gerald Jesionka, 78, says he was working on his truck when the authorities neared his home and told him to evacuate.
More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze that was threatening 50 structures. Morgan Valley Road is closed east of the intersection of Reiff Road to the Napa County line.
These winds will elevate the fire danger, says Berlant. It leapt from Lake County into Napa County, but no vineyards in the famous wine-growing region were threatened.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, has the wildfire listed as the nation’s highest priority for crews and equipment even as potentially destructive blazes burned in Oregon and Washington, spokesman Mike Ferris said. Overall, nationally, 6,290,234 acres have burned in wildfires so far in 2015, well out ahead of average for this time of year.
“I see it only getting drier unless the weather changes and works in our advantage”, said Kim Zagaris, state fire and rescue chief at the California Office of Emergency Services.
Standard containment methods – dropping fire retardant from the air, ploughing ditches and earthworks to create break lines and setting controlled fires to consume vegetation and other fuel – have proved no match for the extremely dry conditions.
The blaze about halfway between Temecula and Palm Desert had been held to 450 acres and was 70 per cent contained, with full containment expected Friday, state fire officials said.
Erratic winds have challenged the almost 1,700 firefighters battling the blaze, with officials warning residents to be vigilant for sudden shifts in the fire’s direction.
Across the state there are now 16 active wildfires being fought by 11,000 firefighters.
“Every afternoon, it’s like a big chess board, trying to move the resources and covering all the different current going fires and the new fires that are breaking out”, Zagaris said.
That fire, which sparked late last month, has destroyed 43 homes along with more than 50 outbuildings and forced hundreds of residents across three counties to evacuate the rural ranch lands, but is now 88 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.