Jones Fire nears containment: Fire weather persists in Nevada County
The Jones Fire neared full containment on Monday, one week after a Northern California lightning storm ignited hundreds of fires across the state.
On Sunday, Cal Fire had over 14,000 firefighters on the front lines of over two dozen major fires and lightning complexes. The Jones Fire in Nevada County is one of those believed by officials to have been started by a lightning strike.
Firefighters on Monday had reached 70% containment of the Jones Fire, which had reached 705 acres, with full containment expected by today.
The Jones Fire has destroyed over 21 structures, 14 of them homes. Seven firefighters have been injured. There have been no civilian injuries, Cal Fire said in a release.
In anticipation of the upcoming weather patterns, crews continued to perform firing operations to burn away vegetation in an attempt to slow down and stop the spread of the wildfires.
California has had more than 13,000 lightning strikes since mid-August and more than 600 wildfires statewide have burned over 1.2 million acres, or 1,875 square miles, said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with Cal Fire.
The National Weather Service declared a Red Flag Warning until 11 p.m. Monday for western Nevada County, as remnants of Hurricane Genevieve could bring thunderstorms with very little to no rain.
With the increased fire danger, Cal Fire reminds people to prevent sparking a wildfire and visit http://www.ReadyForWildfire.com.
ACROSS THE NORTH STATE
Firefighters battling three massive wildfires in Northern California got a break from the weather early Monday as humidity rose and there was no return of the onslaught of lightning strikes that ignited the infernos a week earlier.
A warning about dry lighting and gusty winds that could spark more fires was lifted for the San Francisco Bay Area and relieved fire commanders said the weather was aiding their efforts.
“Mother Nature’s helped us quite a bit,” said Billy See, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection incident commander, about a complex of fires burning south of San Francisco.
More than 1,200 buildings have been destroyed and 14,000 firefighters have been deployed, Berlant said.
The three big fires around the Bay Area and many others burning across the state have put nearly 250,000 people under evacuation orders and warnings, and authorities renewed warnings for anxious homeowners to stay away from the evacuation zones.
All evacuation orders for the Jones Fire have since been lifted.
Six people who returned to a restricted area south of San Francisco to check on their properties were surprised by fire and had to be rescued, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said.
The death toll from the fires reached seven over the weekend after authorities battling a big fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco announced the discovery of the body of a 70-year-old man in a remote area called Last Chance.
He had been reported missing and police had to use a helicopter to reach the area of about 40 off-the-grid homes at the end of a windy, steep dirt road north of the city of Santa Cruz.
The area was under an evacuation order and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Clark said the discovery of the man’s body was a reminder of how important it was for residents to evacuate from fire danger zones.
“This is one of the darkest periods we’ve been in with this fire,” he said.
To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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