On July 4, 2014 a fire ignited in grasslands near Highway 128 in Yolo County, California, not far from the southeastern shore of Lake Berryessa. By the afternoon of July 5, about 5,000 acres had been scorched, as the fire was fueled by wind, drought and extremely low humidity. Late that same afternoon the Monticello Fire, as it came to be called, had run into remote areas of grassy oak woodlands, with heavy fuel loads found in the higher elevation. The rugged, steep topography challenged fire fighters and made access difficult. Smoke was thick, prompting an Air Quality advisory for sensitive groups living in or traveling through the area.
On the morning of July 12, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), reported that a total of 6,488 acres had been burnt, and the fire was 98% contained. Full containment was anticipated by that same afternoon. There had been 5 injuries reported, but no structure damage was reported at that time.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the Monticello Fire at 21:00 UTC (2:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight time) on July 5. The red hotspot marks where the thermal sensors on the MODIS instrument detected temperatures higher than normal. A long gray plume of smoke rises from the hotspot and blows northeastward. Lake Berryessa sits to the southwest. Further southwest, a bank of fog moves into San Francisco Bay.