On Sunday, parts of Northern California were hit with a 10,500-acre wildfire. Blowing across Lake County, the so-called Pawnee Fire destroyed twenty-two structures, with many more threatened. 

According to Cal Fire, the fire increased from 450 acres on Saturday night to 10,500 acres Monday evening. The cause of the fire stemmed from high winds, low humidity, and above average temperatures. Captain Jordan Motta, a spokesman for Cal Fire, commented that they expected the fire to grow as crew members struggled to establish a perimeter on Monday. 

Motta continued, 

The fuels are burning with more intensity than they were in the overnight hours and that’s just due to the temperature of the air coming up and the relative humidity coming down. That’s going to generally cause an increase in fire behavior.”

Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rosa Fire Department’s assistant fire marshal, also stated, 

Given the weather and the changes in wind direction, the fire is moving in multiple directions….I don’t think any of us thought we would be here this early in the season. This is the last thing anyone wants to go through. It has the potential to get a lot bigger given the wind and the directions it’s being pushed.”

Over two hundred and thirty-five firefighters have responded to the wildfire. They have dropped water and retardant from their aircraft and used bulldozers to cut a fire break. At Lower Lake High School, the American Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter. 



On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Lake County. This declaration initiates the state’s Office of Emergency Services to aid firefighters with the wildfire. 

Considering California’s reputation for wildfires, residents appear to be calm about the situation.

A Lake County resident, Harriette Sucher, said,

“It can change rapidly, especially if winds change.[There was] a lot of large ash particles all over cars, homes, streets — almost like snowflakes falling.”

Sucher then proceeded to say that she is an experienced fire victim. Like Sucher, other neighbors feel prepared for the fire. Their valuables and necessities are packed and ready to go. 


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons