Sand Fire: Yolo County wildfire grows to 2,200 acres, 20% containment

GUINDA, Calif. (KGO) -- A fast-spreading fire that broke out Saturday afternoon in Yolo County is now 2,200 acres with 20% containment.

The Sand Fire broke out just after 2:30 p.m. and is still burning near the small towns of Guinda and Rumsey along Highway 16. It's prompted mandatory evacuations along County Road 41.

MAP: Yolo County evacuation area due to Sand Fire

Former Congressman from the East Bay, Pete McCloskey, watched intensely with his wife Helen as helicopters circled above their house. They were trying to figure out how bad the Sand Fire was burning around them.

"We have been packing with no idea how bad this is," Helen said.

That is until a sheriff's deputy told them to leave.

"You guys are aware of the mandatory evacuation, right?" asks the officer.

"This is obviously going to be the new norm," Helen said.

Cal Fire spokesperson Will Powers says the Sand Fire broke out just before 3 p.m. on Saturday, near the small towns of Guinda and Rumsey in Yolo County.

Pushed along by the strong winds and fueled by the dry heat, the fire grew to over 1,000 acres in less than four hours. It was at 1,700 acres as of 11 p.m. Saturday night.

Powers says aerial crews are trying to locate the areas that firefighters on the ground needed to tackle first. When the fire jumped Highway 16, the main road through the area, it prompted mandatory evacuations.

Helen and Pete ended up having to evacuate with their six dogs.

"I decided to take a few things. I took my grandfather's memories and my great grandfather's, who lived here in California 150 years ago," says Pete, who was a Republican nomination for President in 1972. He lost to the incumbent, President Nixon.

The McCloskey's went through evacuations last year, when they lost one of their farms in the devastating County Fire, which burned over 90,000 acres. Since then, they have supplies packed in their RV. But they say, no matter how much they plan, it's still tough.

"The biggest concern is, of course, is losing the farm and the house and everything. And of course, we are under-insured, just we haven't gotten it together," Helen said.

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Cal Fire says crews are battling a 1,700-acre fire that's spreading rapidly in the Capay Valley near the town of Guinda in Yolo County.

The couple, who have been married for more than 40 years, says they didn't get any email or text alerts, which they say are important because getting out isn't as easy people may think.

"Probably the most important part is just getting crews there," said Cal Fire spokesperson Will Powers.

"There is one road in, one road out - Highway 16. If the casino had to evacuate, you can kiss off that end of the valley with the traffic," Helen explains. "This end had two exits. Highway 16 and the Arbuckel Grade Road, and the county won't maintain the road anymore. This could just be a death trap."

Cal Fire said earlier Saturday that some structures were threatened, but we don't know at this time if any of them have been burned.

An evacuation center has been set up in the Esparto Boy Scout Cabin at 16980 Yolo Avenue.

Smoke from this blaze can be seen all the way from the North Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

A Red Flag Warning is still in effect.

VIDEO: Smoke from Yolo County fire seen from Golden Gate Bridge
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Smoke from the 1,700-acre wildfire burning in Yolo County could be seen from the Golden Gate Bridge.

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