2 homes, multiple buildings destroyed in Vacaville fire

A brush fire consumed 55 acres and destroyed two single-family homes in Vacaville Saturday. Nobody was injured and fire officials say the cause appears to be accidental.

Don't let the cooler weather fool you, fire season is still very much a danger for much of the Central Valley.

Neighbors north of Vacaville saw this today, when a brush fire consumed 55 acres and destroyed two single-family homes.

Nobody was injured and fire officials say the cause appears to be accidental. The blaze started as a small, four-acre fire just after 11 a.m. on the 3900 block of Estate Drive. By 1:30 p.m., the fire had grown to 55 acres and destroyed multiple buildings.

"A lot has been going on today! It's like, 'Wow,'" neighbor June Ladd told ABC10 Saturday afternoon.

She was home here with her young granddaughter when she saw the flames, which fire officials said started on the property adjacent to where she lives.

"I have a big, long patio and big, long windows in my kitchen. I could see from the front when it started," she said. "It was an inferno, and I could feel the heat all the way up there."

She and her granddaughter made a narrow escape.

"There was open flame right here. It was so hot that I almost couldn't go through here." Ladd said, pointing to the bend in the driveway she needed to pass to escape. "I just gunned it and went up over the hill and got her out of here and got her to safety."

Fire officials are still investigating the cause but say something as small as a spark from a lawnmower can start a fire in what are these "red flag conditions."

Doug Rogers, deputy chief with the Vacaville Fire Protection District, explained.

"Low humidity, high winds, obviously dry fuels. Fuel moisture is way down," he said. "It's just very, very dangerous and people have to be aware."

While it's too late this year, Rogers urged neighbors in the future to leave something called defensible space.

"At least 100 feet of non-burnable green grass," he listed. "Keep trees trimmed down, keep the leaves off your roof, those type of things. So have a clean area that the fire won't burn."

Ladd has advice, too.

"Mowing is important, but do it at the right seasons," she said. "Don't do it when it's hot and dry. And especially hot, dry and windy, because if it does start fire, that wind just takes it and you can't keep up with it. It goes faster than what you can do."

"Make sure you, you know, have a plan to get out of your home, if you have to go in a hurry," Rogers said, gesturing to the scorched acreage where Saturday's fire began. "This whole thing probably, in an hour, was where it was at."

"We've had fires out here before," Ladd said. "My top thought, is, 'Where will we go when it happens?' Because sometimes it happens in those hills right there, and if it ever blocked off this road out here, we wouldn't have any way to get out of this area."

That's because Estate Drive is a dead end.

Altogether, between ground attacks and aerial attacks involving multiple agencies, the fire was contained in a matter of about 4.5 hours. The fire destroyed two single-family homes, plus several outbuildings and vehicles and equipment.

Neighbors in the area were evacuated but are back in their homes.

Rogers said the Red Cross offered services to the two families who lost their homes, but they declined.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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