On Saturday, another California wildfire, the Valley Fire, located northwest of Sacramento, mushroomed, growing from 50 acres to 40,000 acres by Sunday morning.
ABC News reported that the fire had consumed 62.5 square miles:
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2015
According to Cal Fire, the fire started in Cobb and is burning northeast toward Loch Lamond and southeast toward Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake. Over 5,000 residences have lost power, while four members of a helicopter crew were injured by the blaze.
The firefighters were reported in stable condition at UC Davis Medical Center. Roughly 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, aided by 125 fire engines and four airtankers. The communities of Cobb, Seigler Canyon, Loch Lomond, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lakes have been evacuated.
Thousands of people have fled the area, according to NBC News, which also reported that fire hydrants in Middletown had run dry.
Cal Fire reported that evacuation centers have been set up in Kelseyville Presbyterian Church in Kelseyville and Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. Cal Fire spokesman David Shew said winds from the west triggered the fire’s explosive growth. He called the Valley Fire’s potential destructive impact the worst he has seen in his 28-year career.
The Butte Fire, burning in Calaveras and Amador counties, roughly 70 miles southeast of Sacramento, has consumed 100 square miles and is only 20% contained. On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Calaveras and Amador counties; over 4,000 firefighters are battling the fire.
The National Weather Service reported that the San Joaquin Valley and Mariposa County Air Pollution Control Districts issued air quality alerts due to smoke impacts in the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Kings, Tulare, and the Valley Air Basin portion of Kern. The alert is in effect until Sunday evening.