YOLO COUNTY (CBS SF) — Firefighters in Yolo County had made some progress on the Sand Fire Sunday afternoon, bringing the 2,200 acre wildfire to 20 percent containment, authorities said.
In an update issued shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, Cal Fire reported that the fire burning near the town of Rumsey had grown to 2,200 acres and that evacuation orders for all residents on County Road 41 remained in place.
An evacuation center has been opened at the Esparto Boy Scout Cabin at 16980 Yolo Avenue.
Highway 16 has been closed from Highway 20 to the town of Brooks.
Cal OES, the Yolo County Sheriff, CHP, and multiple local government fire agencies are assisting Cal Fire on the Sand Fire.
The fire has destroyed 7 non-residential structures including a barn and other buildings. Firefighters say winds out of the north are pushing the fire south through the hills.
For the rest of the day and into the night, firefighters have two priorities — get some containment lines around the fire and keep it off the valley floor, which is a more densely populated area.
A fire of this size and intensity so early in fire season is unnerving for many people who live in the area.
Roberta Murray and her family equate the sounds of summer with the sounds of rotor blades.
“We follow them down to the creek and watch them get water and we know where they go, and that’s sad,” says Murray.
They’ve lived on this chicken farm outside Rumsey for more than 40 years and have seen first hand this “new normal” of extended wildfire seasons.
“Starting this early is frightening because 3 weeks ago it was 60 degrees up here and raining,” says Murray.
This weekend saw red flag conditions with triple digit temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds. All of that quickly dried out the brush allowing the Sand Fire to spread quickly after it started Saturday afternoon.
“That does change the way we look at the rest of the season, because when we see it running pretty fast now, we know it’s only going to get worse the rest of the summer,” says Sandy Wargo, a spokesperson for the North Bay Incident Management Team.
Overnight Saturday night and into Sunday the fire was burning mainly in the hills west of Rumsey.
“This morning most of the activity was up around here, but now it’s shifted down into here.”
There are more than 600 firefighters attacking the flames from the air and the ground.
Right now 125 residents are evacuated. No word yet on the cause of the fire. The area was not part of PG&Es pre-emptive power shut offs ahead of the red flag conditions. Power has been cut to areas around the fire for the safety of those evacuating and the firefighters.
Smoke from the fire reported was Saturday night over Marin, Solano and Sonoma Counties.