Sand fire in Yolo County spreads to 2,200 acres, now 20% contained

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A Yolo County wildfire swelled to 2,200 acres by Sunday evening, sending smoke drifting over a large section of the North Bay.

Flames destroyed seven structures, none homes, and chewed up an additional 500 acres over the course of the day in hot, dry conditions, Cal Fire spokesman Will Powers said. The fire was 20% contained by 7 p.m.

More hot weather is on the way. Temperatures in Yolo County are expected to rise into mid 100-degree range for several days, starting Monday.

The Sand fire, in the Capay Valley east of Highway 16, forced the evacuation of 125 residents near the communities of Guinda and Rumsey. The evacuation orders affect all residents off County Road 41, which runs along the eastern outskirts of Guinda and Rumsey.

A total of 627 personnel were fighting the fire Sunday but were challenged by the area’s steep terrain and thick brush, said Powers.

Battling the blaze were 45 engines, as well as four helicopters and 12 bulldozers. Air tankers were dropping retardant, assisting ground crews and water tenders.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

It was reported a little before 3 p.m. Saturday and had grown to 125 acres by 5 p.m. It had tripled in size two hours later, pushed southwest by strong winds. At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Cal Fire reported it had grown to 1,700 acres.

Earlier Saturday, air and ground crews quickly halted the progress of a smaller blaze in Pope Valley, northeast of Calistoga in Napa County, named the Ink fire. It started just after 2:30 p.m. and was last reported at 50 acres. The Ink fire was 85% contained as of 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, as a proactive safety measure, PG&E began turning off power to 20,500 customers in parts of Butte and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills, according to a company statement. By Sunday evening, power had been restored to nearly all of the residents in the region, PG&E said.

The fires follow an unusually wet rainy season.

“If you look at the last couple years,” Powers said, “we’ve had fires throughout the year.” He pointed to the massive Thomas fire, which started in Southern California in December 2017.

“Yes, the highest fire danger is when the weather is hotter and drier. But in reality, there’s not really a fire season anymore.”

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