Friday, 17 May 2024

Fire near Lower Lake contained; reaches 182 acres

Lori Burke shot this view of the fire from the Clear Lake Riviera.


LOWER LAKE – State and local firefighters moved quickly to suppress a fire that broke out along Highway 29 near Lower Lake Monday afternoon.

The fire reached approximately 182 acres, Cal Fire reported late Monday evening. Earlier in the day, acreage estimates had reached 300 acres, but officials said that number was scaled back due to better mapping.

Cal Fire's Incident Command Center reported that the fire was dispatched at 2:18 p.m.

The fire necessitated shutting down a portion of Highway 29 near Diener and Manning Flat as firefighters worked to contain it.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia said Point Lakeview at one point was being used as an alternate route. However, that road also was closed at about 3:16 p.m., with the fire reportedly cresting the ridge.

CHP reported shortly before 6 p.m. that Point Lakeview could be reopened. CHP reported that Highway 29 itself was reopened shortly after 9 p.m.

Cal Fire led the suppression effort, with five air tankers, three helicopters, 11 fire engines, six bulldozers and five hand crews, along with resources from local fire districts, including a five-engine strike team that was called for before shortly before 4 p.m.

Witnesses at the scene reported large Cal Fire air tankers were dropping retardant on the fire, with helicopters also making water drops.

The air tankers were released at 6:46 p.m., with the helicopters released by 7:30 p.m., according to reports from the scene.

Power lines were down at the scene, with some onscene reports indicating the possibility of a blown transformer.

Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson Jana Morris said that 4,800 customers served by the company's Konocti power substation – serving areas including Kelseyville and Cobb – were out of power mid-afternoon.

The outage's cause, said Morris, appeared to be the downed power lines, but why the power lines had fallen was still being investigated.

She said at 2:35 p.m. PG&E received a call from a customer who reported a loud noise that they thought had come from a transformer, but Morris could not confirm Monday that a transformer had in fact blown.

All 4,800 customers had power restored to them by 5 p.m., Morris said. Cobb resident Roger Kinney reported that the power was off in Cobb about two hours.

Vehicles being routed onto Highway 175 to avoid the fire encountered a solo vehicle crash on Highway 175 near Cobb, which took place just after 4 p.m. and resulted in the vehicle and some nearby grass catching fire.

Cal Fire, which took the call, reported the fire was very small and quickly contained. The vehicle was destroyed. Minor injuries to the occupants were reported by CHP.

Officials with Cal Fire said late Monday that the 182-acre fire scene was still being mopped up. The downed power lines are believed to be a contributing factor, Cal Fire reported.

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Val Onellion of Clearlake photographed these two Cal Fire helicopters in the Diener Road area.



Phyllis Clement took this photo of the fire from across Clear Lake on Monday afternoon. Cal Fire and local firefighters were continuing to fight the fire, which initially was reported after 2 p.m., as Highway 29 was closed to through traffic.



The fire also could be seen in Clearlake, as shown in this photo by Cobb resident Brenda Crandall.



A view of the fire photographed from the front yard of James and Karin Green, who live in the Clear Lake Riviera.



Rick Hamilton captured this shot of Cal Fire putting out a small grass fire sparked by a vehicle crash on Highway 175 just after 4 p.m.




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