Firefighters fight a 1,700-acre fire in Yolo County as the Bay Area faces strong winds and warm weather

Firefighters fight a 1,700-acre fire in Yolo County as the Bay Area faces strong winds and warm weather
PG & E cut power in some areas, heat records are broken in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Livermore

Firefighters battled a rapidly growing forest fire in Yolo County and small fires that erupted in northern California on Saturday as the region sweated through the hot, dry and windy weather that increased the possibility of a destructive fire.

The sand fire near Rumsey in northern Yolo County covered 1,700 acres with zero percent containment at 8:20 p.m., according to Cal Fire. That's an increase of just 600 acres less than an hour earlier, although the growth was partly due to more accurate mapping, said agency spokesman Will Powers.

The largest forest fire in northern California so far this year was fanned by strong winds after it was reported for the first time at 2:37 pm, which led to the closure of Highway 16 and mandatory evacuations in several communities along the route. The evacuees were sent to a Boy Scout shelter in Esparto.

Fire departments across the region responded to the incident, and firefighters were combating the flames from the ground and sky with 38 engines and five helicopters, Powers said. Neighboring counties reported smoke conditions due to the fire, and clouds of smoke hid the sunset even 80 miles south in San Francisco.

The fire threatened the agricultural valley of Capay, which sits on the edge of the north coast ranges, about an hour's drive northwest of Sacramento. Paul Muller, the owner of Full Belly Farm just inside the evacuation zone, said that strong northern winds had threatened to fire on the small towns and farms of Ramsey and Guinda the previous Saturday, but that the fire had turned towards the west, staying mainly on the steep covered mountain tracks.

"This was a pretty strong wake-up call," said Muller, whose family had decided to stay on the farm for now instead of evacuating because of their irrigated fields. "It makes us realize that we are very, very lucky if it was later in the summer and it was 110 degrees, that would have been much more destructive."

Several other minor fires in the region, at an unofficial start of what some experts are predicting, could be a season of, particularly flammable fires.

In Fairfield, four firefighters and a police officer were taken to a hospital after fighting a fire in a house that burned in the garage where they stored about 200 pounds of lithium-ion batteries, the local police department said. Four of the first responders were affected by the fluorinated gas released by the batteries, and the fifth suffered a back injury.

In Juba County, firefighters were fighting a fire of approximately 60 acres off Highway 20 in Marysville, prompting the evacuation of some houses, said Ron Karlen, head of the local fire department. The fire was contained at approximately 65 percent at 8 p.m.

And in Napa County, a 50-acre fire northeast of Calistoga was contained at 75 percent at 7:30 p.m.

The danger grew as temperatures rose and wind gusts reached 71 miles per hour on the summit of Mount Tamalpais, the National Weather Service said, only two weeks after a rainy weekend.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Inc. cut off electricity to approximately 1,600 customers for most of Saturday, in an effort to reduce the risk of forest fires in North Bay and prepared to do the same in the communities of Sierra Foothill. Saturday night.
PG & E said its power cut, intended to prevent fires caused by public service equipment damaged by high winds, began at 6 a.m. Saturday in parts of Napa, Sonoma and Yolo counties. The closure ended on Saturday afternoon around 4 p.m., the utility said, and it was established that power would be restored after the crews were inspected for any weather-related damage.

Meanwhile, temperatures in the Inner Bay Area rose to the upper 80s and were expected to surpass in the 1990s on Saturday afternoon.

It will be even hotter on Sunday and Monday when temperatures are expected to rise above 100 in parts of southern Santa Clara County and the interior of East Bay. San Jose is expected to see the weather in the mid-90s on Sunday, said Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Spencer T