Mendocino and Lake county wildfires force residents to flee

Two different wildfires that erupted Friday between Lake and Mendocino county lines doubled in size Sunday, forcing 10,000 people to flee near Clear Lake and knocking out power to more than 40,000 people where temperatures had reached triple digits.

Fire officials ordered residents to leave the towns of Lakeport, Upper Lake, and Nice, on the west and north shores of Clear Lake, including Sutter Lakeside Hospital which is in the mandatory evacuation zone.  The 146-campsite Clear Lake State Park on the south shore has so far been spared.  In Mendocino County the fires grew to 30,500 acres and residents in the eastern sections of Potter Valley were also told to leave.

“It’s getting really ugly here,” Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin told residents Sunday evening in a Facebook Live video. “Get your belongings and evacuate out of the area.”

Firefighters’ abilities to slow the fire’s progress were hampered by a shortage of available ground and air resources that had already been assigned to other active fires elsewhere in the state, Cal Fire said Sunday morning.

The two fires,  just 14 miles apart, spread rapidly to the east through thick, parched brush that has not burned for years as flames spread toward the lake, also closing Highway 20 near the Mendocino-Lake county line.

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