Heat, Tough Terrain and Ticks Make Fire Fight Difficult for Crews in Yolo County

YOLO COUNTY -- Two days after the Sand Fire broke out near the town of Rumsey, firefighting helicopters were still extinguishing flames until almost sundown.

The wildfire has burned paths across 2,220 acres from Colusa County south into Yolo County, threatening communities like Rumsey, Guinda and Esparto.

Despite hot, dry, windy conditions, the fire did not spread from Sunday night into Monday morning. By Monday night, it was 50% contained.

Cal Fire has really focused on an area south of Highway 16. While no one is living in that area, it is very deeply wooded, steep terrain. So if the fire were to spread, people in nearby towns could be in danger.

Click here for our live blog and follow up-to-date information on the Sand Fire.

"It looks like they got a handle on it," said Alan Taylor. "They know what they're doing. They're professional."

FOX40 first spoke with Taylor over the weekend when the safety of his home was in jeopardy.

"All the important stuff was in the car ready to go and my wife had the car loaded down with her personals,” he said.

As he watered his garden just a few hundred yards from the burn scar, he felt comfortable and grateful to the firefighters as the Sand Fire reached 50% containment.

The water of nearby Cache Creek allowed aircrews to fill their buckets and douse the flames with little lag time in between.

Medical helicopters would also play a key role during the hot afternoon when a firefighter, a member of an inmate crew, suffered a setback. He suffered a heat-related illness, according to one of his supervisors.

He was flown from the front lines to an awaiting ambulance at the Sand Fire base camp in Rumsey. From there, medics decided he had to go to a hospital. So they dispatched a reach medical helicopter to transport him quickly.

Temperatures in the Capay Valley hit 100 degrees and above and more than 1,100 firefighters were on the fire fight.

They must wear heavy protective gear even in the heat. Crews have had to hike deep into the woods to cut containment lines and look for hot spots to put out.

“We’re also dealing with snakes and ticks and things of that nature that you would think about when you`re camping. But it’s completely infested out there with ticks, everyone’s coming in and double checking,” said North Bay Incident Management Team spokeswoman Sandy Wargo.

Their hard work left every home in the fire's path still standing. The only buildings that burned were non-residential.

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