[UPDATE 11:46 p.m. ] Swift Moving Valley Fire Burns 95 Square Miles, Only 5% Contained (Latest Maps!)


The first night flames chewed through neighborhoods leaving hulks of cars and burning ashes behind. [For more of @EPN564‘s photos, follow on Twitter]

Between Saturday at 1:24 p.m. and this morning at 6:40 a.m., the Valley Fire which started in southern Lake County has burned approximately 61,000 acres or 95 square miles. It has exploded 50% in size since yesterday morning. With only 5% containment, 1000’s of people have fled their homes as mandatory evacuations have been called for in not only Lake County but into parts of Napa County as well.

Reportedly, several units of the Geyser’s critical power plants have been burned, 1000’s of structures destroyed, and fire crews are stretched thin (Humboldt County crews are now on the lines.)

Here are three different maps of the fire:

Open this map full screen.

As we learn more throughout the day, we’ll be updating you right here at the bottom of this post. To get the latest, check back periodically for more information.

For a list of evacuations and road closures go here.

UPDATE 8:11 a.m.:

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Is this the worst fire year California has ever seen? For a look at the numbers, click here.

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: 

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.

UPDATE 6:08 p.m.:

UPDATE 6:42 p.m.:

UPDATE 7:01 p.m.:

UPDATE 10:11 p.m.:

Caretaker relates the nightmare of woman burned in her home during Valley Fire.



UPDATE 10:49 p.m.: And now this worrisome news from Caltrans…

UPDATE 10:57 p.m.:

UPDATE 11:02 p.m.: Cal Fire information as of 9:45 p.m.

Acres Burned – Containment: 62,000 acres – 10% contained
Structures Threatened: 9000
Structures Destroyed: 585 homes destroyed and hundreds of other structures are know to be destroyed as well
Evacuations: Evacuation Orders: Hwy 29 x Hwy 53, south on Hwy 29 to Tubbs Lane in Napa Co., all of Hwy 175, Point Lakeview to Soda Bay on Hwy 281, all of Bottle Rock Rd and High Valley Rd. Butts Canyon Rd from Hwy 29 to Napa Co. line (including all of Berryessa Estates). The communities of Twin Lakes, Hidden Valley Lake, Middletown, Aetna Springs, Seigler Canyon and Loch Lommond.Advisory Evacuation:

Napa County: Pope Valley and parts of Angwin.

Evacuation Centers:

Red Cross Shelters:
Kelseyville High School 5480 Main Street in Kelseyville
Napa County Fair Grounds 1435 N Oak Street in Calistoga

Lake County Shelters:
Highland Senior Center, 3245 Bowers Center in Clearlake
Big Valley Rancheria Gymnasium, 1002 Osprey Court in Kelseyville

Road Closures:
Hwy 29 X Bottle Rock, Hwy 29 X Hwy 175 (Middletown & Kelseyville), Butts Canyon Rd at Aetna Springs Rd, Hwy 29 X Red Hills Road, Hwy 29 x Hwy 53, Hwy 29 at Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, Soda Bay & Riviera West, Hwy 29 x Hwy 281, Hwy 29 x Live Oak.

Injuries: 4 firefighters, 1 civilian fatality

UPDATE 11:44 p.m.:

UPDATE 11:46 p.m.:

Earlier Chapters of this Story:




  • Horrific inferno. KRCR (Redding) reported this morning:

    “Some 400 homes are among the hundreds of structures destroyed as fast-moving wildfires raged through communities in Northern California. The fires have left at least one person dead …”

    NPR ran a story as well:


  • Struck me this morning while looking at the pictures that a lot more trees than we think will survive this fire. That’s the one good thing about how fast it’s moved. Lots of trees looking virtually untouched next to houses burned to the ground.

    • I doubt it. There will be a lot more tree mortality in coming years from this. The beetle kill in this area was already wreaking havoc and after a burn, typically a lot of trees that “survive” the initial burn will have gotten scorched, remain green for a little while, but then ultimately not be able to bounce back and then die off. Pines are notorious for this, which is what most of the forest is there. The Douglas fir stands a better chance of surviving. But this place is never going to look the same.

      • Yeah. I know. I wasn’t being clear. I was thinking not a stick would remain standing and was encouraged by how many trees, oaks, I saw looking fine next to the burnt structures.

        The pines in the area I’ve been thinking, even before the drought, might just blow up from summer heat alone — they weren’t looking so healthy — and so by last week they were, I’m sure, almost solid volatile oils and bone dry wood.

        If the drought breaks and the El Niño doesn’t wash everything away, maybe it’ll come back better than you think… someday… but… well… it’s awful… and I’m so very sorry for all the losses.

    • Remember, trees don’t know they are dead for a while, the cambium layer under the bark may be boiled, it takes a while for that to block the sap movement upward and the needles to turn red and the trees to show that they are dead. Sometimes it’s really deceptive as it may take weeks to show…

      • Yes, thank you, I know that too. They just looked hardly even burned at all in the pictures I saw. I am thinking the fire whizzed by so fast it only stuck where there was something really volatile to keep its interest. Like houses. Paint. Tires. That insofar as the trees were set away from those items, the fire just flew by them in the grass.

        • I know, everybody’s telling you…but I want to add: The Lodge Fire in July last year- I thought many of my trees (Doug Fir, oak and madrone) had survived. This Spring they were dying and are now dead. New sprouts at bases of oaks and madness but lots of dead tops. I think the fire danger on my place is now HIGHER than it was with 50 years of fuel build-up!

          • Well, then, it’s official. My little spark of optimism has almost been extinguished! 😉

            It’s really mostly only old-growth redwoods and really well-established old oaks that ever make it through relatively unscathed, and we’re darn low on those these days.

            I’m just trying to tell myself that the speed of the fire may have saved some trees down in the grassland, but you guys are probably right… almost certainly right… and the more so because all those trees have been struggling mightily for quite a while already.

    • I saw that too. It is really odd that the houses burn but the trees don’t. I wonder if we’ll see revised codes for building in areas likely to have wildland fire. After all, those same houses built from concrete seem unlikely to have burned.

      • It’s been a long time, but I once saw a ranking of California county governments’ efficacy and Lake was either dead last or second to last, so if codes are revised it will be at the end of insurance company whips. Plus, except for in a very few areas, manufactured and mobile homes are what goes on Lake County lots.

        Even in the towns, all of them, the risk is ultra-high because so much of the construction is very old, substandard, summer cabin kind of construction.

        I have family down there. I never stop bitching about the fire hazard when I’m down there. For DECADES it has been horrific, and I grouse about it to everybody, and if this weren’t SO awful it would be a relief.

        It just this very moment started RAINING at my house.

      • Hi Ed, there are several similarities between the reaction of concrete or stone houses and very rapid spread of very hot fires. The volatiles like resins and other volatiles in trees, and the contents like the many plastics, fabrics and paints inside houses, both become and/or give off gasses, sometimes the temp is high enough so these will spontaneously ignite but often there is not sufficient oxygen. However when oxygen is introduced as when someone who doesn’t know better breaks the windows or opens the door on a house full of black smoke there’s often an explosion and instant full involvement..

        When you see a lot of black smoke coming off a large wildfire, as we did here the 12th and 13th when it was really hot, a similar effect is that ignitable gas lights off when the fire-winds and perhaps cinders get to it; spreads the fire with incredible speed. It may not go bang but I’ve heard seen and felt it go whuff; the Oakland Hills fires many years ago.

  • The rain can’t come soon enough! Prayers to all involved.

    • We need good, hard, long-duration rain to put these out, the small sprinkles or short rain bursts we have had and are predicted this week are just enough to make the fires muddy, smoldering messes…that dry out and keep going…It does help a bit…everything helps a bit…Hopefully fall comes in for real soon…with storms..

  • As much as I love wood siding and the use of wood in buildings I wonder why no one has tried to propose mandatory, or at least made available for a fire insurance bill reduction, the replacement of exterior siding with fire resistant materials. Or even a sprinkler system hooked up to a dedicated cistern or tank that provides high pressure water sprinklers on the walls and roof activated by a heat sensor. Might need an independent of grid power source thou.

    • Nice idea, but what water sources? Sprinklers running hard enough to save structures would have to be running at pretty heavy rates, a lot of gallons per minute for each one… good idea, but not practical in a drought. The part about retrofitting structures to be more fire-resistant is a good one, but expensive…

    • @silverlining Wow[edit] Who is going to pay for this mandatory fire protection? You? To me it just sounds like more consumption that requires more resources further contributing to how fucked up humans are treating this planet.

    • Current building codes require non-flamable siding in urban/woodland interface zones. WUIBS = wildland urban interface buîlding system. Enclosed soffets, 20 minute burn rating on doors and windows, siding, gutters that don’t catch debris. The last one is a big one with embers falling on a roof and rolling into a gutter with dry leaves… that’s how a lot of houses catch on fire in these situations. That being said, the building code is only applicable to new construction.

    • when i worked in sonoma county years ago , i retired in 2002 , i placed new phone lines to houses in middle of no where , in the tree infested mountains , in middle of beautiful areas with lots of trees and beautiful everything you could imagine . requirement then , you needed 2500 gallon water tank for anything up to 2500 square feet house , living quarters . with inside and outside fire sprinklers . guess what , water pump worked off electricity . so if any fire heading your way shut off power , your sprinklers DONT WORK

      • If there was a sustainable water supply, like recycled water or something, a solar or wind backup with storage batteries system maybe could power sprinklers, but since embers can get in anywhere, sprinklers by themselves only work so well…

  • Plus, at the end of this nightmare, someone will make the case that there was improper setback of vegetation that allowed structures to start burning. Everyone tries but the ideal world of defensible space and what people actually have on the ground are often different. We got a Cal fire demand to clear brush at a cabin in Truckee and did the work. Already the dangerous shrubs are growing back.

  • In a raging fire it’s almost impossible to build a structure that can resist destruction. I remember a fire down in so cal that burned into an upscale mountain neighborhood. The homes were “fire safe”. Tile or metal roofs fire resistant materials used extensively. It was a fairly open pine forest with little brush on the ground. A number of homes were lost when embers were blown up under the eaves and into the attic vents. The houses burned from the inside out.

  • This has been the worst season yet.Im so so sorry to all the family’s who lost their homes.so grateful for your life,you got out in time.Lots of great communitys there will come together and rebuild there lives.Calif.folks have tough skin and do amazing things together!!God bless you all.Thanks to all firefighters YOU rock!!!

  • Anyone know if there there any grief counselors available to the thousands of displaced&traumatized folks?
    Perhaps some donations to local hospice folks for this?
    they usually have therapists that help deal with loss. At least with advance warning folks can grab some things&pets and get out; this moved so fast and unexpectedly I would imagine
    that most everyone is in shock/grief mode.
    The more you can talk/write/draw to get your feelings out, esp with kids, the better chance of having the trauma not “stick”.
    If anyone hears of projects to help victims get shelter for winter please post widely. Tiny houses & nice trailers?

  • My heart is breaking for California and her wildlife.

  • And, of course, my heart also breaks for victims of the fires and firefighters alike.

  • The Red Cross their awsome.when our home burnt down,they were there fast,blankets a.place to go ,what ever we needed!their amazing.please donate to the red cross!!

  • Anyone read that link about sheriffs escorting folks to their homes, seems a bit nuts.
    If the county/state is worried about folks suing if injured then can they provide some waiver forms to sign? Why make a super hard situation even more challenging for victims?
    There are certain meds that people are supposed to wean off of, not supposed to just stop or neg side effects happen. Combined with the stress of the situation, it seems really lame to not let folks get their meds at their houses. Everyone will have to go get their “cat food” officially speaking.
    C’mon sheriffs, ease it up and give folks a lil more time to gather pet&livestock supplies to take out there. Announcing this late at nite with a meet time of 9am is really not cool. And only 15mins to look for& feed&water critters once there?
    I get that the sheriff’s are trying to prevent looting, which is important, but it’d be great for some cal-fire folks to escort as many are already going out to feed&water critters, and they have the experienced eye of a firefighter in case of random spot fires. And if can organize folks to go in groups by neighborhood, they will know if someone who doesnt live there is lurking about.

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