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Plumas County blaze burns 38,000 acres, California’s largest of year

San Francisco Chronicle logo San Francisco Chronicle 9/9/2019 By J.D. Morris
a sunset in the background: The Red Bank Fire in Tehama County has charred 8,838 acres west of Red Bluff. © Shasta Modoc Cameras

The Red Bank Fire in Tehama County has charred 8,838 acres west of Red Bluff.

Firefighters continued to battle blazes across Northern California forests Sunday, with the largest mostly uncontrolled and growing.

The Walker Fire had expanded to 38,049 acres and was 7% contained Sunday night, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It is burning in the Plumas National Forest, about 11 miles east of Taylorsville (Plumas County), and is California’s largest wildfire of the year so far.

The cause is under investigation.

Evacuations were ordered from Antelope Lake to the Plumas County line, the Genesee Valley Road corridor, the Ward Creek area and the Flournoy Bridge area. No structures have been destroyed.

A 400-acre wildfire in Butte County called the Swedes Fire was 30% contained Sunday night and had destroyed two structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Cal Fire said the blaze is burning east of Oroville, near Chinese Wall Road in a steep, rugged area that was damaged by the 2017 Wall Fire.

Evacuation orders were given for these areas, according to Cal Fire: Deer Valley Road from Swedes Flat Road to the end; Jernigan Way from Hurleton Swedes Flat Road to the end; all of Quality Lane; Lost Horizon Drive to Oro-Quincy Highway; Old Olive Highway to Oro-Quincy Highway; and Feathervale Drive and Mount Ida Road and all adjoining roads to the east.

In Tehama County, the lightning-caused Red Bank Fire continued to burn west of Red Bluff. The fire had charred 8,838 acres and was 50% contained Sunday night, according to Cal Fire. No buildings have been destroyed but 25 are threatened, Cal Fire said.

Mandatory evacuations are in place between the boundary of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the Four Corners intersection, as well as south of Vestal Road, including the Petty John, Hammer Loop and Weemasoul Road areas, Cal Fire said.

Weather conditions appeared to be favorable for firefighters. Generally lighter winds were expected throughout Northern California on Sunday, though coastal mountains expected gusts of up to 25 mph, said Emily Heller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Temperatures in the Red Bank Fire area were projected to top out in the mid-80s and remain in the upper 60s and mid-70s in the Sierra Nevada, Heller said.

In Lake County, firefighters were able to completely contain a 53-acre wildfire at Live Oak Drive and Highway 29 in Kelseyville. Called the Oak Fire, the wildfire destroyed one structure. No one was injured.

J.D. Morris is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jd.morris@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @thejdmorris

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