Butts Fire in Napa County grows, no major vineyards at risk

TERRY COLLINS, Associated Press
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Smoke rises from the Butts Canyon Fire on Tuesday July 1, 2014, near Middletown, Calif., on the border between Lake and Napa counties. (AP Photo/Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

Smoke rises from the Butts Canyon Fire on Tuesday July 1, 2014, near Middletown, Calif., on the border between Lake and Napa counties. (AP Photo/Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A raging wildfire in rural Northern California has spread over 5 square miles and forced the evacuation of 200 homes in Napa County but was not threatening any major vineyards on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 firefighters were hoping to get a better handle on the Butts Fire in remote Pope Valley.

Crews made progress overnight in controlling the blaze that was 30 percent contained, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire has damaged one home and four outbuildings. In addition to the mandatory evacuations, another 180 homes were threatened.

Fire personnel pull back from a wall of flames as it jumps Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road, Tuesday, July 1, 2014, outside Middletown, Calif., near the border between Lake and Napa counties. (AP Photo/The Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

Fire personnel pull back from a wall of flames as it jumps Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road, Tuesday, July 1, 2014, outside Middletown, Calif., near the border between Lake and Napa counties. (AP Photo/The Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.

“The temperatures went down and the humidity went up and that really helped slow down this fire,” Berlant said.

State fire Deputy Chief Gabrielle Avina said crews were also aided by lighter winds overnight and hoped those conditions would hold throughout the day.

The fast-moving blaze began Tuesday and within hours spread to 600 acres. State firefighters and crews from Napa, Lake and Solano counties spent the day working in 90-degree weather, and similar temperatures were expected Wednesday.

“This fire exploded because the conditions are so dry all across California,” Berlant said. “We were definitely surprised by this one.”

Gov. Jerry Brown said he has secured federal funds to help fire departments cover the cost of battling the blaze.

Elsewhere in California, firefighters were surrounding a blaze in Shasta-Trinity National Forest that forced the evacuation of about 15 homes.

Andrea Capps, a spokeswoman for the forest, said the fire has burned through 35 acres since it started on Tuesday and was 70 percent contained.

 

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