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Exhaust and heat from underneath a car that had pulled off Highway 128 into dry grass is being blamed for the Wragg wildfire that burned more than 8,000 acres near Lake Berryessa in Napa and Solano counties. Cal Fire says they’re not sure yet if misdemeanor criminal charges are being filed against the driver. The fire started July 22nd and quickly burned off the highway near Wragg Canyon Road and the Lake Berryessa Dam. Hikers had to be rescued nearby and one had to be hospitalized due to heat-related illness. Cal Fire warning drivers to be cautious when pulling onto dry grass that can easily ignite a wildfire.

A boil water notice for Soda Bay Water System. Lake County Special Districts issued the notice because the system can’t meet the surface water treatment turbidity standard. Special Districts reports a change in Clear Lake water quality has caused challenges. Special Districts asking customers to use only the bare minimum needed. The water storage tank is full, but its ozone unit cannot keep up with water demand. About 1,400 consumers are affected.

Much progress on the Jerusalem fire means barely any growth and a lot more containment. But over the weekend fire officials announced the damage assessments which included 9 homes and 18 outbuildings destroyed. The fire has been burning a week in the Jerusalem Valley northeast of Middletown. It’s blackened just over 25,000 acres and was at 85% containment. The fire had threatened 50 structures. Some residents who were ordered to leave have been allowed to go home. But as so with the Rocky Fire, officials urging extreme caution and to be aware of potential hazards. The cause of the fire is under investigation. It should be totally surrounded by fire crews Friday.

Mandatory evacuations have been lifted on the Jerusalem fire as the continued growth has slowed way down. On Saturday Cal Fire reported they were allowing residents to go home after some were told to leave nearly a week ago. Those returning should stay away from electrical wires on the ground and are told to call Pacific Gas and Electric Co. immediately. Trees and poles with deep charring, especially if it’s still smoking, should be considered hazardous. There’s a virtual recovery assistance center online at www.LakeCountyLAC.com.

The Rocky Fire Relief Fund has brought in more than $15,000. The fund created by North Coast Opportunities, Mendo Lake Credit Union and the Lake County Department of Social Services is now called the “Rocky-Jerusalem Fire Relief Fund”. In about a week there’s been a huge response. Including the match by Mendo Lake Credit Union, the total raised is more than $20,000. They say they’re trying to get to $50,000.

Community members affected by the Rocky and Jerusalem fires have a help line to call to report destroyed or damaged structures. The Fire Help Line 800-325-9604. Lake County OES is working with several local and regional agencies, and is coming up with a cleanup and debris removal for the Rocky fire. The Board of Supervisors has to approve though. The board to consider at their meeting tomorrow. If you don’t have Internet you can go to Lake County Libraries for free.

The owners of 14 properties have to fork over some fees after the Clearlake City Council unanimously approved nuisance abatements. $87,500 in administrative fees and 3 requests heRad at the council meeting were denied. The properties notified nearly a year ago and some had multiple extensions already. 33 properties have been notified and fined this year.

The old Buddy Eller Center had a crowd out as the facility will be used as a recovery center. The Brush Street facility in Ukiah was a shelter but now will be the Ukiah Recovery Center. The Ford Street Project’ is taking over the old homeless shelter which is going to have enough room to help 30 men and 10 women recover from substance abuse or behavioral problems. There will also be an inpatient treatment facility like before that can help with long-term recovery for 22-people.

Two men accused of the murder a man from San Francisco during a botched drug deal in Sohum have agreed to plea deals. Ryan Carroll and Robert Lee suspected of the planned robbery of Reetpaul Singh Rana during a marijuana deal but they ended up shooting him to death in Sept. of 2008. Apparently the victim had been working as a “marijuana broker”. Carroll’s plea to using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence causing murder gets him 15 years. And Lee pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and maliciously burning a vehicle learns his sentence this week. The two to be formally sentenced in October.

A U.S. Navy SEAL from Willits will have the new Bypass project named after him. Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Jesse Daryl Pittman was killed with 37 others in Aug. of 2011 when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by enemy fire in Afghanistan. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors urging the Legislature to name a bridge at the new Willits bypass after him. Then a formal request was made to the legislature. Last Tuesday it was formally agreed the bridge will be dedicated to Jesse Pittman. Pittman was a firefighter with Cal Fire before joining the U.S. Navy in 2005.

A group advocating separation of church and state has gone to court against a judge in Texas who ordered a man to marry his girlfriend as a condition of probation. The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it filed a complaint against Smith County Court-at-Law Judge Randall Rogers and filed another a day before with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Austin. The judge ordering 21-year-old Josten Bundy a month to marry 19-year-old Elizabeth James or get 15 days in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. He apparently punched her ex.

A retired schoolteacher in Pittsburgh says she just laughed after seeing a black bear had broken into her car in Montana, destroyed the inside then when it couldn’t escape, busted out through the windshield. The bear got inside then trapped in Ellen Stolpe’s Toyota Camry at a lodge near Yellowstone National Park. She says she was thankful nobody was hurt.

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