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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.