Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Firefighters deal with numerous small fires around county

LAKE COUNTY – Extremely dry conditions have contributed to several fires around the county over the last week.

In the south county, Lake County Fire Protection Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta said they've seen just a few small fires in the district during the week, including a 50 by 50 foot area that burned on Thursday, and a few slightly smaller fires on Spruce.

The biggest fire recently occurred on Friday, July 3, and damaged the Kool and Cash building at 40th and Phillips Avenue, resulting in about $100,000 in damage, said Sapeta.

“We've been really fortunate so far,” he said. “We're holding our breath.”

Also on July 3, a fire off of Bridge Arbor North Road in Upper burned 10 acres in an orchard, according to Chief Jim Robbins of the Northshore Fire Protection District.

A fire lookout spotted the fire, said Robbins, noting that Lakeport Fire, Cal Fire and the US Forest Service also responded.

Robbins said he hasn't been able to find a cause for the fire, which occurred during the middle of the day. “Fires just don't start out in the middle of orchards by themselves,” he said.

That same day, Northshore Fire responded to a two-structure fire on E. Highway 20 and Oak Grove in Clearlake Oaks, said Robbins.

A large oak tree came down across power lines, sparking the fire, which scorched a fence and led to damage to the front of one house and to the garage of another. Robbins estimated damage at $80,000 for repairs to both homes.

Another small, two-acre grass fire was reported in Nice off of Spring Street before 5 a.m. Monday, said Robbins.

While neighbors claimed to have heard firecrackers prior to the fire being reported, Robbins said there was no evidence of fireworks, and the fire's cause is unknown.

Also on Monday, a six-acre fire was reported on Bartlett Springs Road. Robbins said the fire appeared to have come from a nearby campground before burning up a hill. That fire was handled by the US Forest Service and Cal Fire.

Kelseyville Fire reported a small, quarter-acre fire on Wednesday off of Clark Drive. The cause of the fire, located near homes, is under investigation.

Firefighters were able to quickly suppress a 22-acre fire in north Lakeport on Wednesday, as Lake County News has reported. Northshore and Lakeport Fire, as well as Cal Fire and the US Forest Service responded. The cause of the fire hasn't yet been reported.

On Thursday, a fire was sparked on Hutchins Road and Burpee Drive in Nice when a squirrel got into high tension lines. “It blew him up and the insulator,” said Robbins.

The explosion caught the ground on fire, burning just under an acre, said Robbins.

Conditions are so dry lately that fires can easily spark, and afternoon winds an add to the problem, he said.

No fires appeared to have resulted from illegal fireworks over the July 4 weekend, according to local fire chiefs.

“We went out and chased a bunch but never caught any,” said Sapeta.

Lakeport Fire Protection Chief Ken Wells noted that the holiday weekend was pretty quiet.

Lakeport Fire teamed up with Lakeport Police to confiscate illegal fireworks and make some arrests, including one felony case in which a man from San Francisco was found with a handheld flare launcher, Wells said.

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

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