Cal Fire says Valley Fire now 67,200 acres, 30 percent contained

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. -- The Valley Fire in Lake, Sonoma, and Napa counties grew to 67,200 acres and is 30 percent contained. Four firefighters have been injured. Several people remain missing. There are 585 homes that have been destroyed and 9,000 structures are threatened.

Officials say the Valley Fire started as a vegetation fire at 8040 High Valley Road in Cobb. Sky7 HD showed investigators on scene and with part of the area blocked off by yellow crime scene tape.

On Tuesday, PG&E announced that it is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross for Valley Fire relief efforts. They will also be matching up to $100,000 in employee contributions for a total of $350,000.

Law enforcement officers are stepping up patrols after receiving reports of looting in the burn area. The Lake County sheriff says two suspected looters were arrested on Monday with burned-out safes in their vehicle.

The Valley Fire in Lake County is still growing. And on Tuesday, we got a first look at just how bad it is. Whole communities have been decimated. The inferno has destroyed at least 585 homes as well as hundreds of other structures. Officials say 9,000 other homes and buildings remain threatened.

Four firefighters have been injured, one person has died, and several remain missing. Several highway and school closures are still in effect. However, evacuations have been lifted for Clearlake Riviera, Riviera West and Riviera Heights.

It is still too dangerous for many people to return home. And it's not just the flames or the smoke. The Valley Fire destroyed infrastructure and left a tangled mess of power lines and phone lines amid a sea of fallen trees. PG&E says more than 7,000 customers are without power.

The massive infrastructure damage caused by the Valley Fire is almost too great to comprehend. Around every corner it seems there's a downed line or a smoldering pole, with much of it is blocking highways and roadways from Middletown to Cobb and beyond.

Highway 175 is lined with debris and utility trucks. Crews need to clean up before anything there can be fixed up.

"We're already finding significant impacts," said PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles.

PG&E set up a huge camp just north of Middletown that's now 250 people strong. Job one for the crews is restoring the main transmission lines leading into town.

PHOTOS: Fire crews battle massive Valley Fire

"So the first thing that they'll do is reset those poles," Boyles said. "And then they can start looking at restringing the conductor of the line between those poles and the final step down the road after all that's done is re-energize those lines.""

In Anderson Springs, a burning tree fell just as the local sheriff and crews from AT&T were coming through to survey damage.

RESOURCES: Valley Fire evacuation centers, school closure information

"It's devastating, very devastating right now," said Ken Andrews with the Lake County Public Works Department. "It's a mess. You have to see it to believe it. I mean, TV shows it. But when you're right there and you smell it and you hear it and see things, it's pretty devastating."

More than 2,300 firefighters from around the state are on the front lines battling this raging fire. A struck in the area of the fire this morning, but no damage or injuries have been reported.

In the meantime, class will resume in several schools on Wednesday.

Calistoga has become more than just a relief center for evacuated residents. All types of tents have sprung up at the Napa County Fairgrounds. There, residents can get food, donated clothes, and medicine. About 1,200 people are camped out at the site. Most are from Middleton, some have lost their homes, and others don't know if their house is still standing. Despite the tragedy, community spirit is high. Many wanting to help are still dropping off donations and showing up to do what they can.

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