Crews are battling an explosive wildfire near Lake Berryessa that has quickly grown to 4,000 acres and prompted authorities to order mandatory evacuations of at least two communities.
The wind-whipped wildfire is also threatening 150 structures.
Officials said that the Quail Ridge and the Golden Bear Estates in Yolo County are under a mandatory evacuation.
As of 9:30 p.m., the so-called Wragg Fire ballooned to 4,000 acres from 25 acres after it was sparked by a vehicle crash near Highway 128 and Wragg Canyon Road on the southern end of the lake, fire officials said. The official cause of the fire is under investigation.
It is about 5 percent contained.
The Solano County Sheriff Office said evacuations were in place for Mix Canyon Road to Highway 128, Pioneer Camp and Canyon Creek Resort, earlier in the day. Voluntary evacuations were called for Lake Solano Park, as well.
“It looks very apocalyptic,” said Winters resident Al Calderone. “It’s scary. It’s hard to breathe out here too.”
Aided by parallel winds to the canyon, the wind-driven fire has moved from Napa County to Yolo County as it races up steep terrain and moves down toward the canyon and creeps closer to Winters.
Smoke from the fire is visible in Davis and Winters, the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District said.
Some people in Winters and Davis said ash is falling.
“We were very nervous driving in because we were like, ‘what are we going into?’ Like everything’s starting to look red. It’s very cloudy, we can’t see,” said Demi Bir. She drove to Winters from Vacaville.
Dave Mills went to grab some personal items from a friend’s house, who’s currently in Alaska. “Boy, you could see flames coming right down the canyon right there down Pleasants Valley Road,” Mills said.
Chief meteorologist Mark Finan said the wind is pushing smoke east. Some of the smoke has also settled as far as Woodland.
Officials urged visitors and hikers to stay away from the area because the blaze was spreading rapidly near the popular hiking destination. Earlier in the day, three hikers were rescued in Cold Canyon south of Lake Berryessa, officials said.
Hikers in the Cold Canyon Area are being evacuated.
The U.S. Forest Service is assisting in the firefight with air support alongside nearly 300 firefighters who are battling the blaze on the ground.
Cal Fire said it brought in six air tankers, 16 truck companies, 11 bulldozers and five water tenders to try to slow down the blaze.
The fire is burning in brush-covered terrain that is rugged, steep and difficult to access.
The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Winters Community Center located at 201 Railroad Avenue. A large animal evacuation center is also opened at 29775 County Road 31 in Winters. For more information, please go here.