Arson Wildfire Destroys 175+ Buildings: California Governor Declares State of Emergency
Governor Jerry Brown of California has declared a State of Emergency after the fast moving Clayton Fire burned north of San Francisco. Lake County, California is no stranger to tragedy. In 2015, deadly wildfires ripped through the rural county in Northern California. 2016 brought no better luck. Around 6 pm Saturday, a fire broke out near Clayton Creek, just south of Lower Lake.
Since then, at least 4,000 acres have burned and more than 175 structures have been destroyed. Fire officials determined the blaze was set by a resident, who was arrested and charged with arson on Monday. The community of Lower Lake was spared in 2015, but was the primary location for destruction this year. All 1,300 residents were evacuated with little time to spare. Historic Main Street was ravaged by flames. Even the Habitat for Humanity office (working hard to help neighborhoods devastated by last year’s fires) was destroyed. 1,500 other structures are still threatened by the Clayton Fire. More than a thousand firefighters are battling the blaze, slowing its growth. Dry, hot, and breezy conditions will continue across California through midweek, only adding to the fire danger.
Between the Rocky, Valley, and Jerusalem fires in 2015, more than 170,000 acres were burned. The Valley Fire claimed four lives and destroyed more than 1,200 structures. Making it the third-most-destructive wildfire in state history. The four fires in the last two years have torched 1,400 of the 36,000 housing units in all of Lake County. The map below shows just how close the blazes have burned in this area.