Environment & Science

Wragg Fire: Some evacuees go home as Northern California wildfire calms

A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Trees and brush burn as firefighters light backfires while battling the Wragg fire nears Winters, California on July 23, 2015. The fire has grown to over 6,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Cal Fire firefighters battle the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 15 percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Trees and brush burn as firefighters light backfires while battling the Wragg fire near Winters, California on July 23, 2015 The fire has grown to over 6,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
A firefighter climbs his truck as smoke from the Wragg fire billows in the background near Winters, California on July 23, 2015. The fire has grown to over 6,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
A firefighting aircraft drops retardant on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Inmate firefighters hike in to battle the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 15 percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Cal Fire firefighters hike in to battle the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 15 percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
A Cal Fire firefighter mops up a hot spot while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
Cal Fire firefighters look for flare ups while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 percent contained.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on a ridge while battling the Wragg Fire on July 23, 2015 in Winters, California. The fast moving Wragg Fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and threatens nearly 200 homes as it moves through dry brush near Lake Berryessa. Over 500 firefighters are fighting the blaze that is 5 currently percent contained.
A smoke plume from the Wragg fire billows behind a cow near Winters, California on July 23, 2015. The fire has grown to over 6,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images


Firefighters stunted the growth of a wildfire that had been threatening hundreds of houses in Napa and Solano counties, allowing some people to return home, officials said.

Evacuation orders were called off for roughly 50 of 200 evacuated homes as the 10 ½-square-mile blaze in drought-parched countryside near Lake Berryessa calmed Thursday night, said Amy Head, state fire spokeswoman.

"The threat has diminished pretty substantially in a lot of areas," Head said. "We didn't have a lot of growth today, which is good."

The fire's cause is under investigation, but the state's deep drought has helped it thrive.

"The conditions out there because of the drought have caused all of the fuel and vegetation to become extremely dry and readily available to burn, so it's definitely contributed to how quickly the fire has spread," Head said.

The most active part of the fire, which broke out Wednesday, was burning along a mountain range in a remote area several miles from the highway that feeds into the park for Lake Berryessa, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in California. It was partially contained early Friday.

The fire is less than an hour's drive to California's famed Napa Valley wine country, but no vineyards were in immediate danger.

"It's pretty far away from the Napa Valley," Head said, adding that people are "fine to go into the Napa Valley and do tastings."

Businesses closer to the wildfires also say commerce is not affected, with customers buying wine and renting cabins and boats by Lake Berryessa.

Terry Sparkman, general manager of Pleasure Cove Resort & Marina, which is a few miles west of the wildfires, said people may have to drive an extra 40 miles to get there, but they do.

"You're getting the last few weeks before school starts and getting all the fun you can," he said.

Still, Marcia Ritz, owner of the Spanish Flat Country and Deli in Napa, said she worried about the impact the fire would have on tourism.

"We have the resorts up here, and in the summertime, we depend on them," Ritz said.

Meanwhile, a new fire that broke out Thursday afternoon in the Sierra Nevada southwest of Lake Tahoe grew to 100 acres in heavy timber.

It was burning on both sides of the American River and U.S. Highway 50, which was closed about 60 miles east of Sacramento.

Fire Tracker: Wragg Fire in Napa and Solano counties