Sunday, 16 June 2024

100-acre fire burns near Lower Lake

A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on the fire near Lower Lake Sunday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LOWER LAKE – A fire that broke out Sunday afternoon along Spruce Grove Road quickly spread to 100 acres in the area's rugged terrain.

Cal Fire spokesperson Suzie Blankenship said the fire was reported at 3:32 p.m. along Spruce Grove Road near the Noble Ranch subdivision, south of Lower Lake and four miles northeast of Middletown.

Cal Fire, South Lake Fire Protection District, Lakeport Fire Protection District and Lake County Fire Protection District responded, said Blankenship. A total of 10 engines, two helicopters, two air tankers, an air attack, four fire handcrews, three dozers and one water tender fought the blaze.

The fire quickly moved from a flat area into steep terrain, said Blankenship, burning up grass and oak woodland and reaching 100 acres in size.

Firefighters on the ground and in the air struggled to control the spreading fires, which were several hundred yards apart yet close enough to impede the air strikes from both the helicopters and fixed wing tankers.

Dust devils raced across the flat lands, whipping up the wind and flames, and spreading the fire quickly over several more acres.

The tankers dropped retardant while the two helicopters scooped water from nearby ponds. The helicopters required refueling after flying for more than and hour and 45 minutes.

Several homes were threatened but Cal Fire reported that no structures were lost.

Blankenship reported Sunday evening that the fire was 50-percent contained.

Area residents at the scene reported hearing what they thought sounded like a power transformer exploding and reported seeing downed power lines. Witnesses also said fire was seen around the lines shortly thereafter.

However, Cal Fire's Blankenship said the fire's cause was still under investigation.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



The fire burned across flat land and up into more rugged hillside terrain. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Firefighters had to work quickly, as the wind whipped up the fire and helped it spread in the dry conditions. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Area residents trying to return home had to wait until fire officials gave them clearance. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Another shot of some of the burned acreage. Firefighters had the fire 50-percent contained Sunday evening. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

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