Wildfire raging through Northern California destroys 22 buildings

Gov. Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency, and mandatory evacuations are underway

Wildfires are raging through Lake County, California, leading to evacuations and a state of emergency declaration on Monday from Governor Jerry Brown.

More than 10,000 acres have been destroyed by the fires as of Tuesday, with the inferno burning approximately 100 miles northwest of Sacramento, according to CNN news reports.

“The fire is being driven by low relative humidity, erratic winds and above normal temperatures,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. “Expanded evacuation orders are in effect for the entire Spring Valley area and residents are reminded to heed all evacuation orders.”

Since the fires broke out, 22 buildings have been destroyed, but another 600 are at risk, according to CNN. No loss of life has been reported so far and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the Pawnee fire — the most destructive blaze — is 5 percent contained.

A total of 237 firefighting personnel are currently deployed at the scene, with more anticipated help on the way.

Melissa Chapman, the 2018 President for Lake County Association of Realtors, told Inman that she heard from a local source that there have been 60 structures, including homes, destroyed by fires. They’re expecting a lot more with just five percent of the fire contained.

“I have a personal client who called me yesterday who had already lost two homes in the Spring Valley area of Clearlake Oaks – my heart just breaks for his family,” she said.

Chapman expects there will be a massive surge of renters in the market with few homes to be found for those in need of housing, but inventory is already tight due to past fires in the area. She said Lake County is still only about 20 percent rebuilt from those past fires, according to information relayed to the association by California State Senator Mike McGuire.

“With regards to home sales and tight inventory, this too will affect our market as we have already seen a massive uptick in sales due to the effect of Lake County’s past fires along with our surrounding neighbors from Napa, Mendocino, and Sonoma who were affected in October of 2017,” she said. “Many of those fire victims have found their replacement homes in Lake County.”

“California is already having a significant housing crisis,” she added. “As for Lake County, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this stressful time for our county.”

Email Patrick Kearns