Updated: Butts Canyon Fire burns 2,500 acres, forces mandatory evacuations

2014-07-01T13:00:00Z 2014-07-16T10:06:25Z Updated: Butts Canyon Fire burns 2,500 acres, forces mandatory evacuationsRegister staff Napa Valley Register

A vegetation fire on Tuesday was burning hundreds of acres and forced mandatory evacuations in northeast Napa County.

As of 7 p.m., the Butts Canyon Fire had scorched at least 2,500 acres in the Pope Valley area, according to CalFire.

The fire was 30 percent contained and five structures had been damaged by the blaze, CalFire reported.

Berryessa Estates, which contains about 180 homes, was evacuated. A mandatory evacuation was also called for the west side of the 7800 block of Butts Canyon Road north of Snell Valley Road, according to the Sheriff's Office.

In addition, James Creek Road residents in Lake County were being evacuated, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Snell Valley, Butts Canyon and Aetna Springs roads were closed.

At Berryessa Estates, sheriff's deputies were using bullhorns Tuesday afternoon to order the evacuation of residents.

John Hallman, a longtime Berryessa Estates resident, was going to houses of medically disabled and elderly residents to help deputies evacuate the area.

Some of the residents headed to Middletown, where American Red Cross volunteers were setting up a shelter.

But after the fire jumped Snell and Butts Canyon roads, Berryessa Estates residents could no longer reach Middletown. Instead residents headed in vehicles to a safe zone near the subdivision, an area cleared of vegetation for fire safety. At about 5:30 p.m., Hallman, who praised the efforts of the firefighters and Napa County sheriff's deputies, said a dozen vehicles were at the safe zone, waiting for the roads to become passable.

Red Cross volunteers from Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties set up the shelter at Middletown High School, said Anne Steinhauer, executive director of Napa County Red Cross.

Originally, the Red Cross planned to establish a shelter at Pope Valley Union Elementary School, but the shelter site was relocated because Berryessa Estates residents were unable to reach the school.

The fire was sending smoke plumes high into the sky. North Bay residents reported seeing smoke as far away as American Canyon and Healdsburg.

"It's a huge cloud of smoke," said Pope Valley resident Margaret Thompson.

Thompson was ready to evacuate if ordered to do so, along with four dogs, two horses and a cat. Her husband, Chris, was among the volunteers fighting the blaze. "We're just being prepared," she said.

The fire started near the 7800 block of Butts Canyon Road at about 12:05 p.m., according to CalFire.

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(6) Comments

  1. just sayin
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    just sayin - July 01, 2014 3:32 pm
    Just curious: CalFire Incidents website still says 300 acres. Where did the 500 acre number come from? Thanks!
  2. NeuteredNation
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    NeuteredNation - July 01, 2014 5:31 pm
    Can see this fire from Sac Int Airport:)
  3. RJAndrews
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    RJAndrews - July 01, 2014 7:28 pm
    Could see the smoke from my office on the south end of Santa Rosa! Yikes.
  4. Fleece Finder
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    Fleece Finder - July 01, 2014 7:57 pm
    Have they ruled out Safe and Sane Fireworks from St. Helena.
  5. Ray Richards
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    Ray Richards - July 01, 2014 8:19 pm
    Justsayin--it's called an "update". Sheesh.
  6. just sayin
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    just sayin - July 02, 2014 9:11 am
    Thanks, Ray Richards, I get that. I am saying that I thought the CalFire Incidents website was the fastest way to get updates, but apparently it's not, so I'm wondering where this "more current" update came from. No need to be so snarky and superior.
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