PHOTOS: Small California Town Destroyed by Cache Fire North of San Francisco

by Matthew Memrick

Flames of the Cache Fire destroyed a small town as California wildfires grow throughout the region.

Clearlake, population 16,000, lost 50 homes from the Cache Fire and forced 1,600 to evacuate. Another massive California wildfire, the Caldor, also bears down on the small town north of San Francisco.

According to Cal Fire officials on Thursday, the Cache Fire scorched 80 acres and only 20 percent under control. NBC Bay Area reported that Cache Creek Mobile Home Park, home to many senior and low-income residents, looked to be a total loss from aerial photos.

The Caldor Fire, which started last weekend, has eaten up over 73,415 acres on Friday. On Thursday, 16,000 residents left their homes. On Wednesday and Thursday, this particular wildfire grew 24 times its size.

According to KCRA, the Caldor Fire had charred at least 73,415 acres, more than 110 square miles, as of Friday morning with no containment. The TV station reported that an elementary school was gone, and another reporter saw a post office turned to ashes. 

High Winds Fanning California Wildfires

On Thursday, Clearlake officials were “a little nervous” about the winds. Many were going “up and down” after a tough Wednesday with high offshore winds.

Lake County Fire Protection District board chairperson Jacqueline Snyder told that damage assessments are underway in burn areas, but estimates had dozens of structures destroyed.

As for the fast-moving Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, firefighters had no containment number to give. 

“The fire has grown. It is spreading quickly,” Chris Vestal, a public information officer on the fire, said on Tuesday in a Guardian report.

Vestal said the fire had increased so fast that it was outpacing the department’s ability to document it. Cal Fire officials said that California wildfire has torn through the dry vegetation in the area very quickly.

“The unfortunate thing is that these fires continue to get bigger,” Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said Wednesday. “But we’re surging resources into communities to protect and reduce the impact.”

“It’s a pile of ash,” Derek Shaves told The Guardian. “Everybody on my block is a pile of ash, and every block that I visited, but for five separate homes that were safe, was totally devastated.”

Some were surveying their town after the Caldor fire. Residents suffered a double whammy too. Many lost power due to burned powerlines, and electric companies shut down power to residents as well. Two people suffered severe injuries that needed hospitalization.  

Shaves and Tracy Jackson were helping their friend salvage food from the Grizzly Pub & Grub in Grizzy Flats. The California wildfire did not burn that business.

All in all, California wildfires have destroyed 900,000 acres this year. The nation’s largest wildfire, the Dixie, burned 600,000 acres in a month.