Fast moving brush fire scorches thousands of acres, burns structures in Solano County

ByKatie Utehs KGO logo
Monday, October 8, 2018
Fast moving brush fire scorches thousands of acres, burns structures in Solano County
A fast-moving wildfire in Solano County scorched thousands of acres and sent smoke drifting across the Bay Area.

VACAVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- High winds whipped the Branscombe Fire across 4,000 acres in a few hours.

"It actually started over by the (Travis) Airbase. You'd think that Highway 12 would be a fire break, but that's how strong those north winds are it just jumped the road and kept going and then there was no stopping it," said Roxane Wellman, a Bird's Landing resident.

"The crews that are on the line are reporting that the winds at the tops of the ridges are 40 to 50 miles per hour and it's been very difficult to keep up with the fire spread," said Dennis Rein, Suisun Fire Protection District.

Roxane and Tim Wellman evacuated their horses and 70 to 80 head of cattle from the ranch land between Highway 12 and the Sacramento River near Suisun City. They had an ominous feeling before the fire started around eleven in the morning.

"It was that horrible north wind that everybody hates and Tim, my husband, said 'That darn north wind. Hope there's no fires,' and it was like the curse that did it. We saw the column of smoke go up and it built, and built, and built," said Wellman.

The grassland is sparsely populated, but plenty of people recreate in the area. Firefighters confirm one home and a barn burned as well as some cars. People had to be evacuated from the duck clubs. Some 30 people are still sheltered in place on Grizzly Island.

"We're asking people who are on the island to stay put where they are, if they have to leave find a firefighter and we'll get them escorted off the island," said Don Ryan, Solano County Emergency Services Manager.

More than two dozen agencies responded to help assist with the fire and while many of them will be released before midnight there will be fire watch crews on scene overnight. Strike teams are available should there be any flare-ups.

The wind is expected to persist into Monday.

"This particular area has a lot of peat bogs and the tules burned for quite some time. We could be out here for several days or a week possibly," said Ryan.

No word yet on a cause of the fire. The landscape is blackened, but people and animals are safe. As of Sunday evening, the fire was 70-percent contained.

Before you head out to your car, be sure to check out the ABC7 traffic maps for real-time information to help you navigate through traffic jams.