[UPDATE 1:03 a.m.: More Evacuations/Live Video] Pawnee Fire in Lake County Forcing Evacuations, At Least One Home Burning

A fire that began burning around 5:30 p.m. in Lake County is already around 75 acres, according to Cal Fire.

The fire is burning near Pawnee Road and New Long Valley Road, northeast of Clear Lake Oaks. The red marker on the map above shows the approximate location.

Structures are being threatened and residents are being evacuated (see below for shelter information). At least one structure is burned.

Here is one of the many tweets coming from the area.

This one has video taken at 8:15 p.m. Check out more here.

Matthew Henderson, one of the finest local fire journalists on the scene live as of 8:30:


The Lake County Sheriff sent out the following alert:

A shelter is in the process of being established for evacuees from Spring Valley at Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake Street.  Drive carefully and watch for emergency vehicles.

Lake County CA Sheriff’s Department
1220 Martin St
Lakeport, CA 95453

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-263-2690

Dale Carnathan

UPDATE 9:36 p.m.: Cal Fire reports this is now 400 acres. The evacuation orders are for Spring Valley. More live video from Matthew Henderson:

UPDATE 11:52 p.m.: According to the scanner, winds coming from the north are sweeping the flames towards Cache Creek. More engines requested for structure protection.

UPDATE 12:11 a.m.: According to scanner traffic, there are more residents under mandatory evacuation notice. More live video showing how close the fire is to homes on Quail Trail. Matthew Henderson is taking this video at 16100 Quail Trail.

UPDATE 12:22 a.m.: An incident commander tells dispatch, “We do have multiple structures on fire.”

UPDATE 12:42 a.m.: “Over a dozen homes involved,” a firefighter reports on the scanner.

UPDATE 12:58 a.m.: Wind is blowing the fire. Reports over the scanner of people needing help evacuating. The latest two videos from Matthew Henderson on Quail Trail near Clearlake Oaks show how hot the fire is burning.

Here’s one he began just before 1 a.m.:

UPDATE 1:03 a.m.: Alert just sent out from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office:

This is a MANDATORY EVACUATION notice to the residents of Spring Valley. The Pawnee Fire is actively burning, and may close exit routes. Leave immediately! A shelter has been established at Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake Street. This is a MANDATORY EVACUATION notice form the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

This is a MANDATORY EVACUATION notice to the residents of Spring Valley. The Pawnee Fire is actively burning, and may close exit routes. Leave immediately! A shelter has been established at Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake Street. This is a MANDATORY EVACUATION notice form the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.



  • Hard to believe there is anything left to burn in Lake county
    This is just awful, and so early in the season😞

  • The Moose Lodge at the “Y” (Hwy 20/Hwy 53) is also open for Evacuees. Ladies of the Moose always step up!

  • Lake County Not So Bad

    Taken about ten minutes ago from Indian Hill Road in Spring Valley.

  • A lot of unhappy people waiting and watching from the CHP road block at the Hwy 20 junction as I passed by about 1930.

  • Hwy. 20 now closed at New Long Valley Rd. as of 10:20 p.m.

  • Any estimate on when the road will open?

    • UPDATE (7:50 p.m.): Firefighters report 25 homes are in immediate threat. Lower Lake High School (9430 Lake St.) now established as a second shelter for evacuees.

      UPDATE (8:30 p.m.): Firing operations taking place as crews fight the blaze with fire. There are currently five, fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters at work.

      UPDATE: (9:05 p.m.): Fire now reported at 400 acres, with a moderate rate of spread and is burning in heavy brush.

      UPDATE (10:20 p.m.): Highwya 20 at New Long Valley Road is now closed and there is no estimated time of reopening.

      More information will be released as this is a developing story.

      • UPDATE (10:30 p.m.) CAL FIRE says Highway 20 open at now open with no restrictions. Dozers are making progress and weather conditions are favorable as winds have subsided.

  • If it some how gets something into Rumsey Canyon we are gonna have problems.

  • This is crazy. The approach seems counter productive. Instead of going up to meet the fire and preventing the spread, they let the fire grow in circumference and then try to save the houses. It just seems insane.

    • Here’s a brief primer on fire suppression. Control lines are either “direct” or “indirect.” Direct means that hand crews and/or equipment are clearing fuels directly along the edge of the fire perimeter. Often topography, firefighter safety, or other concerns preclude the use of direct attack tactics. In that case a fireline is constructed away from the perimeter. This is often done at a ridge and/or a road. But unburned fuel cannot be left between the fireline and the actual fire perimeter or the line is not secure. If that unburned fuel near the fireline then burns unattended, the fire can often cross the fireline and then we’re starting over. So that fuel is “burned out” by the suppression forces under (more) favorable conditions. That is called a “burnout operation.” The first day of training everyone is taught that “the only safe line is a black line,” meaning all fuel within a specified distance from the fireline is either removed manually or burned to starve the wildfire of fuel so it has a hard time breaching the fireline. In more extreme circumstances, a “backfire” can be set which is similar to a burnout but for the sake of brevity can be described as a burnout on a usually much larger scale.
      These have been standard operating procedures for at least the 36 years I’ve been involved in wildland fire. They save lives and homes, and are important tools in the toolbox. As one may imagine, supervisors who make these tactical decisions are well trained and take these decisions with the utmost seriousness.
      In rare circumstances, individuals or groups of firefighters may light fires to clear fuel to save themselves from being overrun by advancing flames. The first time this was utilized (to my knowledge) was on the Mann Gulch fire in Montana in 1939, when 13 smokejumpers perished from the fire suddenly shifting direction and overrunning them. This was detailed in the fabulous book, “Young Men and Fire” by Norman Maclean. Fifteen smokejumpers ran, 2 of them survived. The crew boss burned out the fuel around him and also survived.
      Hope this helps.
      Please keep in mind that firefighters are also trained that “no one’s home is worth your life.” Tragic as a lost home is, it is capable of being rebuilt, unlike a snuffed life. Residents and homeowners have the power to make their homes less likely to burn and need to do our share to set ourselves up for success in saving homes. It is a collaborative effort.
      There are many publications about defensible space, and several on fire hardened homes. These are my favorites for each topic, for their comprehensiveness and clarity:

      Ironically, the latter was written for the Sonoma area that burned last October, and warned of what recently occurred.

  • Dozen homes on fire now. People that didnt evacuate need help. People still want help moving there horses out.

  • It seems that someone is setting these fires. They start in the late afternoon, when there are only a few hours of daylight left within which to fight the fire.

    Fireplanes and helicopters fly infrequently. Water does almost nothing. Planes dropping flame retardant are more effective. Wouldn’t it be more effective to use fire planes as the primary force, dropping retardant one after the other until the fire is contained in the direction in which it is moving?

    • I agree Better Way, the planes with retardent should be called in at the beginning. It would save money and homes.

      • Fixed wing aircraft need a landing zone and to be refilled with water after every drop.
        Helicopters can draft water from lakes, river and pools while still in flight.
        Local Helicopter 102 out of Fortuna has been called to a fire for at least the last 4 days straight.
        Oh, and water puts out fires effectively.
        If you want to learn about fire behavior visit your local fire hall. Don’t just make stuff up on the internet.

  • My horses are still out there on riverview

  • Bulgiarian beef stew

    Tweekers always starting fires, lake county is infested

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