Thousands evacuated from Lake County due to massive Clayton Fire

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Thousands of people have been evacuated in the communities of Lower lake and Clearlake due to the Clayton Fire, which started Saturday night. (KGO-TV)

Thousands of people have been evacuated in the communities of Lower lake and Clearlake due to the Clayton Fire, which started Saturday night. Strong winds on Sunday fueled the flames as the fire spread to over 4,000 acres and burned at least 175 homes and businesses. Thousands have been force to evacuate.

PHOTOS: Crews battle massive Clayton Fire in Lake County

Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake, California was arrested Monday on 17 counts of arson and is in jail.

RELATED: Police arrest man accused of starting Lake County's Clayton Fire

Meanwhile, more than a 1,000 fire personnel are on the front lines, including many from the Bay Area. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Monday issued an emergency proclamation for Lake County due to the effects of the Clayton Fire, which has burned thousands of acres, damaged critical infrastructure, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of residents.

For those who chose to stay at home, despite the calls to evacuate, Sunday was exhausting.

"You're just running around trying to put spot fires out and it was just kind of like Hell on earth," explained Mike Haas, a Lower Lake resident.

RELATED: Gov. Brown declares State of Emergency in Lake County due to Clayton Fire

But the fire fight isn't over. Just as he was describing his hectic weekend, a spot fire flared up behind his home.

"It's picking up in a spot that hasn't burned and it's starting to really pick up now," he said.

Within minutes fire trucks pulled up and helicopters swooped over to dump water on the spot fire.

Those helicopters are part of a whole aerial fleet being used here. It includes a massive jet used to dump fire retardant on huge swaths of land.

RELATED: Bay Area fire departments sending strike teams to fight Clayton fire

Darren Bailey lives near where pilots come to refill their buckets.

"Well we have a creek right back here and there's a wide spot where they're picking up water and they're taking it to where ever they need to drop it," explained Bailey.

He says he tried to evacuate yesterday but was too late to get out.

"This all started catching and we kind of got trapped in here," he said.

The fire spared his home. Now, he's just worried for his neighbors who did evacuate. He hopes they can return soon.

Crews are bracing for more tough work ahead.

"The temperatures are going to be exactly what we experienced yesterday, high temperatures, low relative humity," said Suzi Brady, a Cal Fire spokesperson, which means no help from Mother Nature.

For full information on school closures, evacuation centers, and donation information, click here.

Click here for full coverage on the Clayton Fire and click here for full coverage on last year's Valley Fire.

PHOTOS: Crews battle massive 2015 Valley Fire

Related Topics:
Clayton Firebrush firewildfirefirefirefightersevacuationred crosscaliforniacal fireLower LakeMiddletown
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