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ST. HELENA (CBS SF) — Evacuations remain in effect for hundreds of homes in the Pope Valley area as firefighters worked through the night to battle a vegetation fire in Butts Canyon that has rapidly spread to 3,800 acres.
The fire, just west of Lake Berryessa, was 30 percent suppressed as of 5:15 a.m. Wednesday after fire crews built containment lines through the night.
Evacuations remain in effect for residents in the 180 homes of the Berryessa Estates subdivision as well as on Snell Valley Road to the Lake County line.
Aerial shots from Chopper 5 assess the wildfire damage Wednesday morning.
Gail Bickett is in charge of Beryessa Estates’ fire plan which meant calling 600 of her neighbors Tuesday afternoon to tell them there was a fire.
“An hour or two later I called them back to say there’s a mandatory evacuation. We have to get out now,” she said. “That’s frightening.”
Berryessa Estates is one of the most at-risk communities in Napa County when it comes to facing a catastrophic fire: only one road in, 15 minutes from the nearest fire station and fire fuel all around.
“We live in this area that it can happen anytime and it did (Tuesday),” said Berryessa Estates resident Joel Larson.
As of Wednesday morning, 280 structures are threatened by the fire and 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, according to Cal Fire.
At least five structures — including one home — have been damaged since the fire started around 12:08 p.m. Tuesday in the 7800 block of Butts Canyon Road.
The Red Cross set up a shelter for evacuated residents Tuesday afternoon providing cots for adults and kennels for pets at Pope Valley School in Pope Valley and the Middletown High School in Lake County.
Lou Leet went to Middletown High School with her dog Dickens who made it out safe while her five cats remained at her now evacuated home.
“You see it on TV and see other people go through it, but it’s really different when you go through it yourself,” Leet said, “because it’s your animals, it’s the ones that you love. It’s a little bit different.”
Although temperatures cooler than Monday’s scorching heat is making the battle easier for firefighters, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said “we’re seeing fires burn with intensity we would see later in the year.”
More On The Napa Co. Wildfire:
- PHOTOS: Wildfire In Napa County
- Cooler Weather, Calm Winds Good News For Firefighters Battling Huge Napa Blaze
Butts Valley, Snell Valley and Aetna Springs roads continue be closed after the fire jumped Butts Canyon and Snell Valley roads.
Firefighters from around the area are assisting, including those from the City of Napa, St. Helena and the Lake County and Napa County fire departments, the California Highway Patrol and the Napa County Sheriff’s Office.
CAL FIRE WILDFIRE DATA: