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Foothills fire gobbles up acreage
A fire that doubled in size from Wednesday to Thursday in the foothills southwest of Williams added another 5,000 acres overnight into Friday.
Still, CalFire officials reported they made significant gains in developing firebreaks and containment lines, and expect to have the fire fully contained by Monday.
The hot and windy conditions are making the battle against the Sixteen Complex Fire difficult for the 1,268 fire personnel deployed to the area.
The fire, which started as three small grass fires along Highway 16 near Rumsey, had grown to 12,500 acres by Friday morning, CalFire officials reported.
More than 30 homes in the Cortina Rancheria are threatened by the blaze, and a voluntary evacuation warning has been issued for the area.
"From what I have heard, they are taking that warning seriously and are starting to evacuate," said CalFire spokeswoman Stacie McCumbridge.
However, since it was only an advisory evacuation, no shelter has been established.
It is the fourth wildfire in Colusa County since July 7, and has left a haze over many of the foothill communities and, at times, the towns in the valley floor.
"My boy has asthma, so today is very difficult," Maria Gutierrez of Williams said Thursday. "This summer has been very difficult. He can hardly breath sometimes." Crawford Dally of Santa Monica was driving through the area Thursday. "I had family who lost their homes in the Oakland hills fires a number of years ago, so I feel for the people in the area. I sure hope it doesn't reach town. That would be awful," said Dally, who grew up in the Midwest and said tornadoes, not fire were the concerns back there.
Fire officials said Williams is not at risk.
In fact, much of Thursday was spent building firebreaks and laying down containment lines to try to prevent the spread of the blaze, which went from about 3,500 acres on Wednesday afternoon to more than 7,200 acres Thursday morning.
A converted DC-9 made a series of runs along the perimeter of the fire, dropping retardant as part of the containment effort, as other aircraft soaked the fire with water.
Still, CalFire crews were again deployed along Highway 20, east of Highway 16, as the fire crept up the ridge and threatened to move to the north.
Highway 16 between Rumsey and Highway 20 remains closed, and emergency officials urge motorists to take extra caution.