CLEARLAKE, Lake County (CBS SF) — A wildfire burning in Lake County Wednesday grew to about 80 acres, destroying dozens of homes and forcing evacuations in the communities of Clearlake and Lower Lake, according to authorities.
Around 1 p.m., the Cal Fire Sonoma Lake Napa Unit initially tweeted about the fire saying that crews were assisting on a non-Cal Fire incident in Clearlake near 6th Avenue and Cache Street. The burn area is located east of the Anderson Marsh Natural Preserve along the southeastern tip of Clear Lake.
By 3:30 p.m., Cal Fire tweeted that the fire, which became known as the Cache Fire, had grown to about 100 acres. The agency later updated its figures, saying the fire was actually about 75 acres in size shortly after 5:30 p.m. While the forward progress of the fire was stopped, containment remained at zero percent.
— Kent Porter (@kentphotos) August 18, 2021
Around 7:45 p.m., Cal Fire LNU said the fire was approximately 80 acres and 20% contained.
#CacheFire – UPDATE – Fire is approximately 80 acres 20% contained. Crews will be in the area working. Evacuation Orders and Warning are still in place. Expect delays if traveling in the area. #CALFIRE#CALFIRELNU pic.twitter.com/HhIo1vGg7N
— CAL FIRE LNU (@CALFIRELNU) August 19, 2021
Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin confirmed that roughly four dozen homes were destroyed as of early Wednesday evening. At least one civilian was reportedly injured in the fire.
Twenty mile per hour winds fueled the flames, engulfing dozens of homes and cars.
“It got up in the trees and was burning across the trees. From one side of the street to the other. It just grew really quickly,” Martin said.
The wind started spot fires that were nearly a mile away from where the blaze started.
“It flashed over and then there were spot fires and couldn’t get ahead of it,” said Lake County Fire Chief Willie Sapeta.
KPIX 5 reporter Andrea Nakano learned that many of the homes destroyed by the fire were in the Creekside Mobile Home Park and the Cache Creek Mobile Home Estates.
— Andrea Nakano (@AndreaKPIX) August 19, 2021
“I just moved in there. I was homeless before I moved in there,” said David Steffen, a resident of Cache Creek Mobile Home Estates.
Steffen told KPIX 5 that he had moved to the mobile home park about a year ago. “I just come up to see if it was true,” he said.
Steffen and roughly 1,600 of his neighbors were evacuated around 1 p.m. and just had minutes to gather some of their belongings. “There was a bunch of fire over here. We were home and they come to us to move immediately,” he said.
All he was able to get out of his home was his dog, his wife’s medication and some blankets to sleep on, Steffen said.
As of Wednesday evening, evacuation orders remained in effect for zones LOW-E160 and CLE-E157A.
Firefighters will be working throughout the night to make sure they get full containment of the Cache Fire.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.