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An emergency vehicle turns onto Highway 128 outside Winters as the Monticello Fire burns in the distance, Saturday. The Monticello Fire started around 9:30 p.m. Friday night and has burned about 3,000 acres. About 34 homes have been evacuated. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Crews battle blaze near Lake Berryessa

By From page A1 | July 06, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A massive fire east of Lake Berryessa sent a cloud of smoke over the hills, Saturday, as fire crews were getting a handle on the blaze in Napa County that ignited on the other side of the lake a few days earlier.

The Monticello Fire was reported about 9:30 p.m. Friday in the area of Highway 128 at Monticello Dam on the southeast shore of Lake Berryessa. It burned 5,000 acres and was 30 percent contained Saturday evening, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“Fire activity has increased significantly this afternoon,” CalFire reported on its website.

Crews faced remote access to the burning woodland – with heavy fuels in the higher elevations, CalFire said.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for Golden Bear Estates, where 40 structures were threatened, and a shelter was set up at the Winters Community Center. Highway 128 was closed at Pleasants Valley Road and at Canyon Creek Resort.

Firefighters (are) focusing on building control lines around Golden Bear Estates residential area,” CalFire stated. “(The) terrain is extremely rugged and steep.”

Meanwhile, the Butts Fire off Butts Canyon Road in Pope Valley burned 4,300 acres and was 75 percent contained, according to CalFire. It started about noon on Tuesday and destroyed two residences and seven outbuildings. There were four injuries.

CalFire said difficult terrain and low humidity provided a challenge.

“Flare-ups have been an issue and are quickly being extinguished,” CalFire reported.

A total of 61 fire engines, 30 fire crews, four helicopters and 14 water tenders responded.

Firefighting resources have started the demobilization process and are becoming available to support new incidents,” CalFire reported.

An engine and a strike team from the Montezuma Fire Protection District was redeployed from the Butts Fire to the Monticello Fire, said Fire Chief Joe Rosewall.

Two units from the Vacaville Fire Department were also reassigned from Napa to the Berryessa blaze, said Battalion Chief Phil Sanner.

Sanner said the Monticello Fire started on the Yolo County side of Highway 128, therefore local crews weren’t heavily involved.

“(There’s) not a huge Solano County presence there – yet,” Sanner said.

There were about 350 total fire personnel at the scene, CalFire reported.

“With the current weather conditions and elevated fire danger, individuals enjoying the holiday weekend are asked to use extreme caution,” CalFire reported.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

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