Pawnee Fire Balloons to 12,000 Acres, Only 5 Percent Contained

The devastating fire broke out on Saturday evening and has forced 3,000 people to evacuate from their homes

When Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency for the Pawnee Fire on Monday, the fire sat at 8,200 acres burned with no containment. 24 hours later, the fire has ballooned to 12,000 acres with 22 structures burned and only 5 percent containment.

The devastating fire broke out on Saturday evening and has forced 3,000 people to evacuate from their homes. Mandatory evacuation orders in Lake County are in effect for people in the Spring Valley community and surrounding areas, according to officials. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is posting detailed and up-to-date evacuation orders on its website.

Although the Governor’s declaration will enable more of the state’s resources to be allocated to the ongoing incident, this is just another wildfire that has ravaged the impoverished Lake County community of just 65,000 people. In 2015, dozens of homes were destroyed by wildfire and the local firefighting equipment is not as strong as the community needs to keep the flames from spreading early on.

As smoke fills the air and firefighters from all around flee to the scene, it’s hard to determine how efficient the battle will be. Winds died down on Tuesday, giving the firefighters a short window of containment, but they are expected to pick up again Wednesday. The short term goal is to attempt to direct the fire away from structures.


As with any wildfire, locals are scrambling to locate their animals and loved ones:

For ways to donate to general relief efforts in the area, consider The Salvation Army or Red Cross:

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