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Hopkins Fire: Homes Burned; Forward Progress Stopped; Evacuation Orders Reduced To Warnings

CALPELLA (CBS SF) -- Firefighters stopped the forward progress of the Hopkins Fire Sunday evening, but not before fast-moving flames destroyed several homes in the Black Oak Estates neighborhood of the unincorporated Mendocino County community of Calpella.

Evacuation orders for some of the 200 residents forced from their homes were reduced to warnings as containment grew to 10% on the wildfire that had burned more than 275 acres.

"Lake Mendocino Dr. from East Side Calpella north to Milano Dr. have been reduced to an evacuation warning from an evacuation order," the sheriff department tweeted Sunday evening. "This includes the Oakie Flats area. Residents in the listed area are free to return home."

Residents remaining under an evacuation order included those living on Eastside Calpella Road from Milani Drive north to Highway 20, Moore Street, Marina Drive, Black Oak Drive, Rubicon Court, Cortina Place and all of Lake Ridge Road.

The fire ignited around 2:15 p.m. in the tinder-dry vegetation in the area of Moore Street and Eastside Calpella Road. It quickly raced uphill, burning homes in the Black Oak Estates and along Marina Drive as it made it way to the northwest shore of nearby Lake Mendocino.

Dozens of firefighters raced to the scene and helicopters made air drops. Mendocino County Sheriff Capt. Greg Van Patten said deputies also pounded on doors to make sure local residents were alerted and got out safely.

"This was a rapidly evolving fire," he said. "We went door to door. In some cases actually entering houses to make sure people weren't in because soon after those homes were destroyed by the fire."

While officials were still assessing the damage, they said several structures had burned including homes. The cause of the fire had yet to be determined.

"We've lost a lot of homes," said Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall.

Cal Fire Mendocino Unit Chief George Gonzalez said crews will be mopping up the fire for several days.

"There are many parts in the interior of the fire that we will be working on for several days," he said during a Monday morning update. "This area is not safe for people to come into quite yet. Over the many years, we have experienced large and damaging fires. All it takes is one ember to ignite a new fire."

Kent Porter, a photographer with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, recorded multiple structures engulfed in flames along Marina Drive.

Evacuations were ordered Sunday afternoon along Eastside Calpella Road between Cortina Place and Marina Drive.

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