KCRA news reported that by Wednesday night, 2 homes and 7 outbuildings had been destroyed by the Butts fire in Napa County fire near Middletown. The fire had consumed 3,800 acres and was 30% contained.
Amy Head from Cal Fire said, “The fuel load, as we call it, is so big and heavy that it was a huge problem, and as you can see it burnt, very, very hot, very active.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the fire, which apparently started west of Lake Berryessa, near Tin Pope Valley and then moving north to Lake County’s Snell Peak, burning 3,800 acres, was threatening nearly 400 homes. But by Thursday morning the Sacramento Bee reported that CAL FIRE public information officer Daniel Berlant was saying it had grown overnight to 4,300 acres. The Bee also reported that 500 people had been evacuated.
The prospects for more fires like the Butts fire are grim, because the drought plaguing the state has resulted from near-historic lows precipitation over the last year and follows two years of sparse precipitation.
In the Bay Area alone, 350 fires, albeit small in size, have occurred in 2014, compared to an average of 225.
Cal Fire has hired 2,700 seasonal firefighters this spring, contrary to their usual hiring in the summer, and has added 300 more than were hired last year. The state pays for the additional personnel with funds from the state emergency drought funds. There are now 12,000 firefighters in the state.
Mandatory evacuations were still in effect Wednesday night along Butts Canyon Road and the Berryessa Estates area.