(LA TIMES) Residents of Lake County were just beginning to recover from a deadly series of wildfires that destroyed more than a thousand homes last summer when a firestorm this weekend blazed a new path of destruction and despair through the rural pocket of Northern California.
The 4,000-acre Clayton fire — which authorities said late Monday was arson — spread with frightening speed through the small town of Lower Lake on the southern edge of Clear Lake, ravaging Main Street and wiping out much of its small commercial district.
Thousands of people — some of them already dubbed “fire survivors” after last year — fled as they awaited word on whether their homes and businesses were still standing. By Monday afternoon, the fire had destroyed at least 175 structures and threatened 1,500 more, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was only 5% contained.
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