Residents in path of Rocky Fire refuse to leave

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Residents in path of Rocky Fire refuse to leave
Even as the massive Rocky Fire in Northern California's Lake County continues to grow and is now more than double the size of San Francisco, some residents of the evacuated Spring Valley neighborhood refuse to leave.

Fire officials massive Rocky Fire in Northern California's Lake County -- which is burning in Lake, Colusa and Yolo counties -- has spread to 65,000 acres and is still just 12 percent contained.

PHOTOS: ABC7 News at the Rocky Fire in Lake County

And now it's causing new problems. The Middletown Unified School District is delaying the opening of school and preschool for one week because some schools are being used for evacuation centers and the Red Cross Command Center and more may be put into use. School will now start on Tuesday, August 18.

About 13,000 people have been evacuated and some are hanging out at Middletown High School. And then there are others who refuse to leave.

The Rocky Fire jumped over Highway 20 on Monday, surprising firefighters who desperately tried to keep it on the other side. But even with this scare, some residents of the evacuated Spring Valley neighborhood refuse to leave.

"Yesterday was a rough day," said Lake County resident Scott Needham. "We thought it was going to come over the ridge but it didn't. Firefighters got a lot of trucks out here and we feel good."

PHOTOS: Smoke from Lower Lake area wildfire seen for miles

Fellow Lake County resident Bill Johns added, "Fire don't bother me, I've beat out fires when I was younger. So, this don't concern me at all."

Needham and Johns passed time together in front of the Spring Valley pantry even though owner Sandra Clark was at one point trying to evacuate.

"We were packing our bags and loading the cars, you know, then we saw the trucks come in," she said. "It was about 15 first, then 20."

When she saw the firefighters pulling in she realized not only that she could stay, but that she needed to. She had a new set of customers to serve -- the firefighters. She kept the store open until midnight and opened again Tuesday at 4 am.

"It feels good it feels like I am doing something to help now where before it was just scary and nervewracking," she said.

The firefighters say they kept the fire across Highway 20 to 3,200 acres and they're proud of that. The weather overnight and this morning was cool, but they're worried about the afternoon.

"So I think today what we're concerned about is the temperatures are going to be a little bit warmer today than they were yesterday and the day before," said Cal Fire spokesperson Richard Brocchini. "We also have some potential wind issues around 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., where the winds may get up to about 48 to 52 miles per hour. So it's something we need to be watching today."

But they say they are feeling good about the progress they made overnight. And, except for that one spot, they have been able to hold the line.

At 65,000 acres the wildfire is now 102 square miles which is more than twice the size of San Francisco, about 1.5 times the size of Oakland, and about the size of Sacramento.


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, Bear Valley Road from Highway 20 to Wilbur Springs Road, Wilbur Springs Road and Morgan Valley Road X Butte Creek Road, Ogulin County Road and Spring Valley, Paradise Canyon, New Long Valley Road, Old Long Valley Road, Salt Canyon, Indian Hill Road, Flaming Hills Lane, Benmore Canyon, Red Rock Road, Red Rock Court, Round Mountain Road North West of Highway 22, Fern Way, Juniper Way, Holly Way, Golden Red Way, Shasta Road, Cougar Road, Jeep Trail, Smith Lane, Pueblo Trail, Quail Trail, Ogulin Canyon Road, Meadow Creek Road, Cache Creek Road, Wolf Creek Road, Spring Valley Road, Riverview Road, Rocky Ridge, Chalk Mountain Road, Lakeview Campground, Cache Creek Winery, Noggle Winery, Elm Way, Dogwood, Cedar, Blue Berry, Acacia Way, Acacia Street, Doe Trail, Madrone Way, Peach Way, Quince Way, Redwood Way, Sequoia Way, Tamarack Way, Weeping Willow Way, Yucca Way, Coyote Way, Elk Way and Fox Way.


All areas including east of Hwy 29 at Raita Road east of Hwy 53 north to Hwy 20, Clear Lake area east of Highway 53 from Dam Road to Highway 20, Spruce Grove Road, Noble Ranch Road, Black Bass Pass, Jerusalem Valley area west of Soda Creek, Double Eagle Ranch, Homes along Hwy 20 corridor between New Long Valley Road and east of the county line, Spruce Grove Road to intersection of Jerusalem Grade, Lake Ridge, Highway 53 west to Sulphur Bank Road along Highway 20.


Middletown High School, Kelseyville High School

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


Jerusalem Valley Road is closed to all traffic at Spruce Grove Road, Highway 20 corridor will be closed from New Long Valley Road to Highway 53, both directions of Ogulin County Road and Highway 16 is closed from Highway 20 to the Yolo County Line.

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