SAN FRANCISCO — Erratic winds Monday fanned a Northern California wildfire that forced hundreds of people to flee as it threatened more than 400 structures.
In addition to the winds, firefighters battling the nearly 2,000-acre fire just outside Bangor, in rural Butte County, were concerned about dry lightning, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Scott McLean said.
Firefighters have contained 45 percent of the blaze, McLean said. He expected the containment percentage to rise later Monday.
So far, one residence, a garage and three outbuildings have been destroyed since it broke out on Friday, McClean said.
The goal is to have the fire fully contained by Thursday, McLean said. About 900 firefighters were targeting the northwest and southeast sections of the blaze Monday.
“Those are the hot spots. That’s where a lot of our work will be taking place today,” McLean said. “If we can tackle those opposing corners and get those two dealt with, we will have made some significant progress.”
Some residents have not heeded evacuation warnings, McLean noted.
“We need residents to be aware of their surroundings and follow the instructions given to them by fire crews and law enforcement,” he said.
The Butte County fire is among 10 significant blazes in the state, and there was potential for more. CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said there have been 25,400 lightning strikes in California as firefighters remain on high alert.
In Northern California, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for coastal counties stretching from Mendocino to Monterey due to gusty winds that could create dangerous fire conditions.
A fire weather watch was also in effect Monday for the Northern California mountains and foothills.