Car exhaust to blame for Berryessa fire

Posted on August 14, 2015 by Sonoma Valley Sun


Investigators have determined the July 22 cause of the “Wragg Fire” was exhaust from an idling car contacting dry grass.

The fire, now 100% contained, burned 8,051 acres, destroyed 2 outbuildings, damaged 4 outbuildings, and 1 residence.

The fire was reported 2:24 p.m. on July 22 off of Hwy 128 near Wragg Canyon Rd and the Lake Berryessa Dam. It started when a vehicle pulled over and its exhaust ignited dry grass, which then consumed the surrounding brush and the vehicle itself.

The driver was not injured.

The fire then burned through heavy brush and steep rugged terrain eventually ending four miles west of the City of Winters and just north of Mix Canyon Rod near Vacaville.

During initial operations a CAL FIRE helicopter was used for the emergency rescue of multiple hikers in the Cold Canyon area. One hiker suffered a heat related illness and was transported to a local hospital by ground ambulance.

“With the critical fire conditions we are seeing this year combined with four years of drought, we are asking the public to be extra cautious in not sparking a wildfire”, said CAL FIRE Unit Chief Scott Upton. “With hunting season and other outdoor activities at their peak it is imperative that we remain aware of how easily dry grass can ignite a wildfire with devastating consequences.”

Pulling over in dry grass can easily ignite a wildfire, Upton said.

Learn more tips on how to operate and maintain your vehicle safely at

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