SOLANO COUNTY — With wind gusting above 30 mph and humidity dropping near 10%, a fire broke out Wednesday near highways 12 and 113.
Around 4p.m., flames made a rapid run to the south, jumping Highway 12 and racing across ranchland.
“And within a matter of about an hour, it covered about 200 to almost 250 acres,” said Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Cully Pratt.
The flames lapped at the foundations of wind turbines and devoured fence posts.
Fire burning at the base of the windmills. Highways 113 & 12. Solano County. Fire jumped Highway 12. pic.twitter.com/4UrIywukuK
— Dennis Shanahan (@dennis_shanahan) October 9, 2019
The so-called Montezuma Fire also threatened a propane facility along Birds Landing Road and had homeowners downwind watching nervously.
Pedro Guerra had a water truck ready and a sprinkler running while more than 100 firefighters worked quickly to surround a fire that kept jumping ahead of itself because of the wind.
“So, it was picking up and then another fire would start. And then it was picking up and another fire would start,” he told FOX40.
Firefighters were helped by the fact that many landowners kept the dry grass cut low.
“We’re pretty cognizant of that,” said Richard Rogala. “These fires move pretty quick through here.”
This fire off Highway 12 in Solano County threatened a natural gas scrubbing facility. Flames are now largely extinguished. pic.twitter.com/AVgNvbFRlP
— Dennis Shanahan (@dennis_shanahan) October 10, 2019
A couple of hours after the fire broke out, not a single structure was lost and the smoke began to clear.
“This could have been a major, major incident,” Pratt said.
The sheriff’s office believes the fire was likely caused by agricultural work.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for a large swath Northern California, prompting Pacific Gas and Electric to shut down power to millions of people. Solano County is included in the preemptive power shut-offs.