Pawnee fire continues destructive path in Lake County

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. (KGO) -- The Pawnee fire is continuing to grow. Cal Fire says it has now burned 10,500 acres. It is five percent contained. Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency for the area while 1,500 firefighters battle the flames on the ground.

Of the 1,500 people evacuated, only a handful of people are staying at the Red Cross shelter in lower lake. Unfortunately, the community has been hit with so many wildfires they know the drill and have figured out where to stay. Others are camping.

"Its sort of like I almost felt it coming," said Katy Brogan of Spring Valley.

The Pawnee fire sends a dark cloud over the Spring Valley area near Highway 20. It's an all too familiar sight for Lake County residents.

"Since 2012, we've been evacuated six times and now we're the unlucky ones," said Brogan.

VIDEO: Pawnee Fire rages through Lake County
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The Pawnee Fire has destroyed dozens of buildings and is threatening hundreds of others near the community of Clearlake Oaks in Lake County.

"The main fire growth is pushing east and northeast," said Cal Fire Assistant Chief Billy See. "Each day we're fighting mother nature right now."

Cal Fire and the Lake County Sheriff updated residents at the Moose Lodge, but Brogan already knew her home was one of the ten lost. Her husband went back after evacuating Saturday.

"He had left his insulin pen inside the refrigerator and he went back to get his insulin and there was no home. It was just gone," Brogan told ABC7 News.

For many of the evacuees, the sheriff delivered good news.

"I think the bulk of the evacuations are behind us," Sheriff Brian Martin said. "The fire is burning in a direction where it is not very populated at all."

"My house is okay, they say. Whatever that means," Sherre Prior of Spring Valley said. "I'm just beginning to think of the whole enormity of everything."

RELATED: New evacuation orders issued for Pawnee fire

With power out in the area, Prior thinks about her new freezer and all the food that's spoiling. "There's hundreds, hundreds of dollars of food."

People aren't likely to get back into the evacuated areas until later this week.

Cool overnight temperatures are helping firefighters. "Right now we're dealing with a weather pattern that is pushing firefighters to the extreme," said Martin.

More red flag warnings are on the horizon. People who live in the remote and rugged areas of the county are not in the clear yet.

"People live off the grid completely out here so we are making door to door notifications to all the impacted areas," Martin added.

The county's board of supervisors will be voting on an emergency declaration Tuesday, which will help.

More firefighters are on their way.

New evacuation orders have been issued for the Double Eagle Ranch area. Officials say there is "significant fire activity" threatening the area, so residents have been strongly advised to get out now. A shelter has been established at Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake Street in Lower Lake. The shelter will accept large and companion animals.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the entire Spring Valley subdivision of Clearlake Oaks, Cal Fire said. The latest evacuation information can be found here.

Around 4 p.m. Sunday, officials expanded the mandatory evacuation area past Highway 20 to the north and east of Old Long Valley Road to Round Ball Road. The areas include Mule Skinner, Long Branch, Watertrough Road, Fintlock, Muzzleloader, No Guns, Antelope, Cougar, Marianne, Ramrod, and Moccasin.

Some residents only escaped with the clothing on their backs. Luckily a family ABC7 News talked to was able to get their cat out of their home as well.

Officials say to please remember your pets, personal belongings, computers, prescriptions, photos, paperwork, and phones if time allows. Please try to close all windows and doors as well when you evacuatee.

An evacuation center has been established at Lower Lake High School, located at 9430 Lake Street. The Red Cross is gearing up to handle up to 300 evacuees.

Sheriff Martin added that there is an alternative evacuation site at the Moose Lodge, which is located at the junction of Highway 53 and Highway 20. The lodge, which has a bar, restaurant, and can handle animals, is very popular with locals when fires break out.

Officials are encouraging anyone in the area to conserve water so that firefighters can use it to fight the fast-growing blaze.

There are multiple road closures in and around the Spring Valley subdivision. More than 20 engines have been dispatched to contain the blaze, as well as two helicopters and several air tankers. The fire is being driven by low relative humidity, strong winds, Cal Fire said.

Click here for more information on Brown's state of emergency.

Get the latest on the Pawnee Fire here.

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