Crews report progress in fight against wildfires in California


Associated Press

LAKEPORT, Calif.

Firefighters reported progress Tuesday in their battle against the wildfires that have ravaged some of Northern California’s most scenic areas, including twin blazes that were tearing through vineyards and brush-covered hills and threatening some 10,000 homes.

The two fires straddling Mendocino and Lake counties had burned 10 homes along 116 square miles of rural land. Fire crews were able to slow the spread of one of the blazes into populated areas, and instead the flames pushed into the Mendocino National Forest.

“Just because you see a big column [of smoke] standing up every day does not mean we’re not having some success in the fire line,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief John Messina told a community meeting in Lake County.

He urged people to stay vigilant because fires can easily jump over containment lines.

Evacuation orders were in effect for the 4,700-resident town of Lakeport, along with some smaller communities and a section of the national forest. In all, some 19,000 people have been warned to flee, fire officials said.

Lakeport, north of San Francisco, is the county seat and a popular destination for bass anglers and boaters on the shores of Clear Lake. But by Monday night it was a ghost town, the main streets deserted.

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