Wildfires Approach California's Deadliest and Most Destructive
By Richard Chang and Peter Hecht
The Valley fire that has been scorching Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties now ranks as the third worst in California history based on total structures burned.
The toll from the fire, reported at 69 percent contained Sunday evening, climbed to 1,050 houses and 642 outbuildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Three people have been reported killed in the fire, which has consumed more than 77,111 acres.
Crews were building control lines to prevent the fire from spreading further, officials said. While several communities remained evacuated, officials were allowing some residents back into their homes for the first time, including in the regions around Hidden Valley Lake, Jerusalem Grade, Grange Road and Butts Canyon Road.
Meanwhile, the Butte fire in Amador and Calaveras counties reached 72 percent containment late Sunday, having destroyed 545 houses and 352 outbuildings. In structures lost, that fire now ranks as the seventh worst in state history. It has also claimed two lives, Cal Fire reported.
Cal Fire lifted all evacuations for the Butte fire Sunday afternoon.
The Tunnel fire in Oakland Hills ranks as both California's deadliest fire and its worst in numbers of structures destroyed. Twenty-five people died as the 1991 fire burned 2,900 houses and other structures.
The second worst death toll came with the Cedar fire, a 2003 San Diego County blaze that killed 15 people and destroyed 2,820 structures. Scorching 273,246 acres, the Cedar fire ranks as the largest California wildfire in total acreage burned.
(c)2015 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)