Monticello fire burns as residents return home

Fire officials continued on Sunday to battle a 6,488-acre Monticello vegetation fire and are meanwhile beginning to allow displaced residents to return to their homes, Cal Fire officials said.

Due to erratic wind shifts, the blaze remains only 30 percent contained.

As of Sunday, about 1,275 fire personnel were at the scene. Among the equipment being used to fight the blaze are 48 bulldozers, 124 fire engines, six air tankers and 16 helicopters. Heavy smoke will continue to affect the surrounding communities, Cal Fire said.

Three people have been injured since the blaze began, Cal Fire reported, though the extent and cause of their injuries has not been released.

The fire began burning the night of Friday, July 4, near the Monticello Dam, fire officials said, and has now spread to both Solano and Yolo counties, near Lake Berryessa. At 8 p.m. Sunday, evacuations were lifted for all residences on State Highway 128 between County Road 87 to Positas Road.

In a statement around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Cal Fire officials said:

“We are doing everything we can to accommodate civilians and get people back into their homes.”

Firefighters are continuing to fight the flames in steep rugged terrain, with difficult access in grassy oak woodland and heavy brush in higher elevations.

An evacuation shelter set up at the Winters Community Center has closed, according to fire officials. Campgrounds along Highway 128 remain under the evacuation order.

One person was injured at about 1:20 p.m. Sunday, when a Cal Fire bulldozer rolled over while constructing fire control lines on the northern side on the fire in very rugged and steep terrain in Yolo County.

The operator of the bulldozer was rescued by a Cal Fire helicopter and, as a precaution, was flown to Kaiser Permanente’s Vacaville Hospital Trauma Center for evaluation.

— Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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