Rocky Fire destroys homes, forces thousands to evacuate

Byby Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, August 3, 2015
Rocky Fire destroys homes, forces thousands to evacuate
A wall of flames is moving across three Northern California counties as crews fight for control of a wildfire that's destroyed at least 24 homes and threatens thousands more.

CLEAR LAKE, Calif. (KGO) -- A wall of flames is moving across Northern California as crews fight for control of a wildfire that's now considered historic in size. The Rocky Fire has burned 54,000 acres, destroyed at least 24 residences and 26 outbuildings, and threatens 6,300 more homes. The massive fire is still only 5 percent contained. Nearly 2,000 firefighters are working tirelessly to contain the massive blaze.

PHOTOS: Smoke from Lower Lake area wildfire seen for miles

The wildfire that started Wednesday is now burning across three counties -- Lake County, Colusa County, and Yolo County.

On Sunday night firefighters were concerned as the wall of flames started moving northwest and across a ridge.

Due to the fire's approach in the western direction, Caltrans says it will close Highway 53 through Lower Lake at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday as a precaution.

The Rocky Fire continues to grow with a vengeance and shows no signs of stopping. As the fire burns north, there's a huge assault in the air and on the ground to stop it.

The battle lines for the fire have been drawn on Highway 20. Crews don't want the blaze to jump the road. Crews are out keeping an eye on the hillside on the north in case embers set it on fire.

Backfires are being set to head off the heart of the blaze.

"There's so much energy and heat from the main body from the fire," said Steve Kaufmann with Cal Fire. "And we don't' want that energy and heat right at the roadside."

Camper Dave Andrade and his friends from Concord panicked when they found themselves in the path of the fire."

"At 8 p.m. we saw flames about two ridges over from where we were, so we decided to get out," he said.

But in the mad rush to get out, their RV flipped over the side of steep road and now they're stuck.

Hundreds of nervous residents came to a meeting at Lower Lake High School on Sunday to get updated about the fire. More than 12,000 residents remain out of their homes and so far, there's no word as to when they can return.

Other residents like Linda Fielding are worried she could be the next group to pack up and go.

"Nervous as could be," she said. "We're just, you know, we're getting tired of this."

Lower Lake resident Malorie Krul-Grant added, "I haven't slept for two days. And now I'm concerned about Spring Valley because my nephew lives out there. And it just breaks my heart that so many people have lost their homes."

Several dozen homes have been reduced to ashes. Firefighters are doing all they can to prevent more from being lost.


A mandatory evacuation order has been implemented for all residents on Ogulin Canyon Road. Law enforcement is currently in the area and informing residents of the mandatory evacuation. All of Ogulin Canyon road will be closed to traffic.

A mandatory evacuation order is also in effect for all of Spring Valley. Law enforcement is en-route to advise Spring Valley residents of the mandatory evacuation. Once the evacuation has been conducted, the Highway 20 corridor will be closed from New Long Valley Road to Highway 53.

An evacuation advisory is in effect from Highway 20 west to Sulphur Bank Road.

A mandatory evacuation order has been placed for Bear Valley Road from Highway 20 to Wilbur Springs Road. Wilbur Springs Road is also under a mandatory evacuation.

A mandatory evacuation order has been placed on the west side of Highway 16 from County Road 40/Rumsey Canyon Road, north to Highway 20. Highway 16 is closed both directions from Road 40/Rumsey Canyon Road, north of Highway 20.

Jerusalem Valley area east of Soda Creek, Bonham Road, Quarter Horse Lane, Mustang Court, Bronco Court, Sunset Court, Morgan Valley east of Bonham Road, Canyon Road, June Bug Road, Cambell Ranch Road, Sloan Ranch Road, Sky High Ranch Road, Rocky Creek Road, Dam Road from the gate to the dam, Grizzly Canyon, Long Branch Drive, Lance Road, Cougar Road, Red Rocks, Meridian Road, Antelope Road, Mule Skinner Road, Flint Look Place, Moccasin Road, Roundball Road, Watertrough Road, Grigsby Canyon, Lucky Canyon, Remington Canyon, Walker Ridge, Walker Ridge Road, No Guns Road, Meriann Drive.

Residents are reminded to gather their medications, important papers and pets, due to evacuating the area for an unknown length of time. The Middletown High School is available for those needing shelter.


All areas including east of Hwy 29 @ Raita Road east of Hwy 53 north to Hwy 20 including Ogulin Canyon Road, Spruce Grove Road, Noble Ranch Road, Black Bass Pass, Jerusalem Valley area west of Soda Creek, homes along Hwy 20 corridor between New Long Valley Road and east of the county line, Spruce Grove Road to intersection of Jerusalem Grade and Lake Ridge.


Highway 16 is closed from Highway 20 to the Yolo County Line is close in both directions due to increased fire activity. Jerusalem Valley Road is closed to all traffic at Spruce Grove Road. Highway 20 from Highway 53 east to New Long Valley Road is open to residents with identification only. Highway 20 is closed to all traffic from New Long Valley Road to Highway 16.

An animal evacuation center is opened at the Lower Lake Social Services parking lot, 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake.

For more stories about the wildfires breaking out across California, click here.