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Point Fire evacuation orders lifted

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has lifted all evacuation orders related to the 4-day-old Point Fire. Residents ordered to leave the area east and south of Lake Sonoma, where the wildfire originated, can go home starting Wednesday.

The Point Fire — which started Sunday above Dry Creek Valley near Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road — was 50% contained as of Wednesday, according to the most recent data on Cal Fire’s live incident page.

In the area south of Lake Sonoma, 328 residents were issued an evacuation order and 399 were given an evacuation warning, said Cal Fire spokesperson Chris Harvey.

Harvey confirmed Wednesday that the more than 1,100 firefighting personnel on scene weren’t quite to the mop-up stage — a term for when a fire has been contained and crews are working to extinguish the flames.

“They’re still actively firefighting over there, but they do have a good line around it,” he said. “The winds have calmed down a little bit today. We’ve also got some better temperatures today than we have had in the first 48 hours.”

While he hoped crews would mop up in the next few days, he was hesitant to say they had turned a corner with a heat wave expected.

Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention Division, the fire prevention branch of the county’s permitting department, issued a release Tuesday declaring a ban on all open burning in unincorporated county land except for those who have been issued a permit by a Cal Fire official who had inspected the area.

Harvey said the different agencies that oversee different jurisdictions issue burn bans with varying levels of severity, but the multiple fire agencies throughout the area typically work in collaboration.

“It’s not a real concern over who was the one that saying there’s a burn ban; it’s that all agencies have come to an agreement that there needs to be a burn ban,” he said.

And while the burn ban doesn’t prevent such activities as mowing lawns or riding off-road vehicles, which can both create sparks, Harvey highlighted the importance of public education when it comes to fire prevention. Towing trailers with dragging chains or improperly discarding barbecue ashes are some examples of how people can inadvertently cause a wildfire, he said.

“We’re always actively trying to educate people about what not to do during times like this,” he said.

In addition to burning 1,207 acres, the Point Fire has destroyed two buildings and injured one person.

Burn restrictions will remain in effect until Cal Fire declares the end of fire season. Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention Division further warned that anyone responsible for open burning without a valid written exemption from the burn suspension may be subject to a citation, fines and the cost of the fire agency response to extinguish the fire.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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