Wildfire sweeps across northern Bay Area, claiming more than 44,000 acres

By David Jacobson, M.Sc., Temblor

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county fire
This photo shows the County Fire, currently raging just east of Lake Berryessa in the northern Bay Area. (Photo from: Capital Valley News/Dillon Schneider)


Since Saturday afternoon, the County Fire has burned over 44,000 acres, including approximately 10,000 overnight, as firefighters struggle to contain the inferno, which is only 3% contained. The blaze, which is located just east of Lake Berryessa has forced evacuations in the area, and while it has not destroyed any structures, 30 are threatened. This fire is spreading so rapidly because of red flag weather conditions, which involves high temperatures, high winds, and low humidity. Furthermore, the land over which the fire is burning is extremely parched, due to a dry winter, and five years of drought.

This map, from Wildfire Today, shows the location of the County Fire just east of Lake Berryessa. This map not only highlights the rapid progression southward of the blaze, but the location of two of the fires which ravaged Northern California last year.


While the fire has yet to take a physical toll on structures, and has not claimed any lives, over the weekend, northeasterly winds sent ash across the northern Bay Area, and even into San Francisco, creating eerie lighting, and leaving ash on parked cars throughout the city. Today however, air quality remains good.

This NASA image shows the location of the County Fire, as well as smoke drifting southwest over the Bay Area, and the city of San Francisco.


Smoke from the County Fire hangs over Napa and Yolo counties as firefighters struggle to contain the blaze, which is currently only at 3% containment. (Photo from: ABC 7 News)


This part of Northern California is no stranger to fires. The current blaze is sweeping across the area just northeast of where the 2017 North Bay Areas fires destroyed over 7,000 structures, and killed 31 people. Last years fires, and in particular the Atlas Fire, which was just northeast of Napa, could help prevent the spread of the County Fire towards Napa. However, this means that should the inferno continue to spread, it could threaten the area around Vacaville, according to Wildfire Today. Should any new information on the fire come in, we will update this post.

county fire night
The rapidly-spreading County Fire lights up the night sky just east of Lake Berryessa in the northern Bay Area. Just over the last 24 hours, the fire has grown by over 10,000 acres due to extreme weather conditions and dry ground.



Wildfire Today


San Francisco Chronicle