Firefighters contain blazes spurred by winds

The Associated Press
Tuesday October 24, 2000

MIDDLETOWN — Firefighters who worked through the night proclaimed victory over a Lake County fire that had charred nearly 4,000 acres, but said it would take until Thursday to fully extinguish the blaze. 

The fire, which started Saturday, was 95 percent contained as of Monday morning. Officials said they hoped to have it fully contained by Tuesday morning. 

“There’s very little active fire at all,” Ann Rudesill, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Monday. 

There were still 1,000 people working on the fire, which damaged four structures, including a barn, a vacant dwelling and a couple of sheds. Property losses were estimated at $200,000. 

Firefighters worked through the night to contain the 3,970-acre blaze. The fire started Saturday afternoon and was spread by strong northern winds. Most of the area consumed by the fire was remote ranchland and forested mountain country. 

Two minor injuries were reported, both of them to firefighters. An ember injured a firefighter’s eye, and another was involved in a traffic accident. There were no evacuations ordered, although some residents left their homes voluntarily. 

Improving weather conditions lessened the risk that the fire would spread. Wind slowed to 10 mph to 12 mph and humidity was up to 25 percent, compared to Sunday’s 10 percent humidity. 

Costs to suppress the fire reached $480,000, and were expected to reach $1 million. 

There were several other small fires around Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, but firefighters were able to contain them within a few acres. And firefighters worked to keep fires in Oakland and San Jose under control. 

Firefighters in Oakland were on a fire watch and were clearing away dense brush and other fire hazards after a 10-acre grass fire Sunday at Mountain View Cemetery near Piedmont. 

In San Jose, the 25-acre fire that consumed a house and injured two in the eastern hills of the city was brought under control Sunday night.  



The fire started when a pine tree fell onto a power line. 

With lighter winds Monday, “we feel it’s a lot safer,” said Capt. Mark Mooney of the San Jose Fire Department. 

Most of the homes that lost power during the weekend’s high winds had regaining electricity by Monday afternoon. About 80,000 Bay Area customers lost power during the peak of the windstorms Sunday, with East Bay residents hit especially hard.