A massive wildfire burning in a remote area of Napa and Lake counties grew to 3,200 acres by Wednesday morning, threatening nearly 400 homes after destroying at least five Tuesday.
More than 1,000 firefighters, including dozens from Marin, are assigned to fight the “Butts Fire” from land and air as residents choked from smoke-filled skies and prayed that Tuesday’s winds and warm temperatures would give way to cooler weather on Wednesday.
At least 160 homes were evacuated as the blaze pushed from its origins in Pope Valley west of Lake Berryessa north to Lake County’s Snell Peak. Authorities estimated that the blaze was just 30 percent contained.
Dozens of evacuees spent the night at the Middletown school – one of the evacuation centers – either in the gym or in the parking lot.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The blaze is believed to have started near Butts Canyon and James Creek roads shortly after noon Tuesday.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect along Butts Canyon Road as well as the Berryessa Estates area.
Fire crews took advantage of light winds and lower temperatures Tuesday night to gain ground on the blaze and cut containment lines. However, as temperatures climbed Wednesday, there was concern that the conditions left by an exceptionally dry winter would cause the fire to spread.