Valley Fire Grows to 40,000 Acres as Multiple Wildfires Endanger Thousands of NorCal Homes

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Firefighters from Tulare watch a back fire along Fricot City Road as they try to contain the growing Butte fire. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Homes and businesses burned as a fast-moving wildfire fueled by heat and winds exploded in Lake County, forcing thousands to flee and leaving four firefighters with burns.

The small town of Middletown was particularly hard-hit, with blocks of homes and other structures lost. Photos showed Middleton’s main street on fire, with cars burning. Part of a school caught fire.

Middletown has a population of 1,300 and is located south of Clearlake and north of Calistoga. Several smaller communities reportedly saw significant loss of property.

“We absolutely know that there has been severe damage from this fire, but don’t have an estimate on just how many homes and buildings have been destroyed,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

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