LNU Lightning Complex Fire Coverage


Here is a good story with amazing drone video shots of the devastation at Lake Berryessa.


LAKE BERRYESSA, CA - AUGUST 31: Burned homes in the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood are seen from this drone view in Lake Berryessa, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is currently the third largest in California history. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) 

LAKE BERRYESSA, CA - AUGUST 31: Burned homes in the Spanish Flat Mobile Villa trailer park are seen from this drone view in Lake Berryessa, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is currently the third largest in California history. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) 


Power was restored to the Berryessa Highlands on September 3 !

Will Darwin’s bison become the symbol of Lake Berryessa’s recovery!


Lake Berryessa residents return to homes devastated by wildfire

 Napa Register, Howard Yune, Aug 31, 2020 

An army of firefighters from across California and the nation has slowly beaten back the Hennessey Fire, the main component of one of the state's largest woodland fires on record. By Monday morning, Cal Fire announced the LNU Lightning Complex – which also includes the Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County – had been 63% contained as fire crews took advantage of milder temperatures and winds late last week.

Left in the fire's wake, however, have been more than 1,200 destroyed structures and five deaths, including three people who were overtaken by the flames at their home on Highway 128 near Lake Berryessa on Aug. 19, the third day of the blaze.



‘2020 Can Go to Hell’: 

The Story Behind the Viral Fire Photo That Said It All

 By Jack Healy, New York Times, August 26, 2020


LAKE BERRYESSA, Calif. — In the sprawling destruction of California’s wildfires, one photo became an instant icon for 2020’s miseries: On a hillside roaring with flames stood a sign that asked visitors to a senior center to wear masks, wash their hands and be safe. “Come Join Us,” it beckoned creepily.

The virus. Lost jobs. A world aflame. 


For those who know the Lake Berryessa area, you'll notice that the “ instant icon” photo in the article was of the sign across from Turtle Rock, not the Senior Center itself. Amazingly the sign and, thankfully, Turtle Rock survived. Despite the photo the Lake Berryessa Senior Center and Community Hall next to the Monticello Cemetery in Spanish Flat  on the Spanish Flat Loop Road survived!


Previous Berryessa Fire Update Videos Available Here...

Lake Berryessa Fire Updates August 2020


Lake Berryessa Fire Photo Album (9/1/20)


Ironically, things were looking better for Lake Berryessa only a few weeks ago!

A great article in the North Bay Business Journal (www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/) has just been published. It deserves a special edition of the Lake Berryessa News email newsletter. 

It also deserves wide-spread distribution to all those who care about revitalization of this amazing resource. Well-written with insightful inteviews with local business owners and beautiful photos of the lake.

Napa County’s hidden destination: 

Will Lake Berryessa’s future shine again?



August 4, 2020


Here's the introductory section. Read the whole article at the link above or here...


Stefano Gusberti, chef and owner of Cucina Italiana at Lake Berryessa since 2004, remembers the lake's better times. Motels, cabins, several restaurants, marinas with boat slips and other amenities dotted the 28-mile long, three-mile wide lake in Napa County.

"We once saw 1.8 to 2 million visitors a year, today only about 400,000. I had eight employees years ago, now it's just me making pepperoni pizza and lumpia (Italian spring rolls). Demand is high. Some of our pizza orders range from 3 or 4 up to as many as 15 pies for carryout or outdoor patio dining."

Even though the summers remain busy - busier still as people facing pandemic times seek its 80-degree, crystal clear water and numerous islands to explore - some say there is potential for this gem of a lake to return its glory days.

In June, Napa County and the lake's owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), signed a new 55-year Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) expected to lead to long-term business contracts for new concessions on federally-owned land within 1,000 feet from the lake. Napa County will issue bid packages to potential investors this fall.

The MPA's first phase paves the way for the county to choose developers for three lakeside resort sites - Monticello Shores (closed) Spanish Flat (open under interim contract) and the Steele Canyon recreation area (open for day use with tent/RV campsites and boat ramp).

Under phase 2, by or before Nov. 1, 2030, the county will determine whether to take over recreation management responsibility for two other sites - Pleasure Cove and Markley Cove currently under lease agreements. In Phase 3, the county may elect to assume recreation management responsibility for Berryessa Point and Putah Canyon.

"This is a huge achievement for all of us. We're looking forward to building the partnership with Napa County and working together to deliver a thriving recreation program at Lake Berryessa for the public," said California-Great Basin Regional Director Ernest Conant in a USBR press release.

"Now that the agreement is final, we are moving forward with the county process," said Molly Rattigan, deputy Napa executive officer who has been managing Napa County/USBR MPA negotiations for several years. "We plan to send out bidding packages by September. We maintain a list of interested parties and will provide information and updates about these emerging business opportunities to all."

Rattigan said Napa County is also preparing to recruit a concessions manager for these projects.

"It has been too long since we experienced a thriving Lake Berryessa," said Supervisor Diane Dillion, chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. "We want to work with the community to restore economic vitality to the region surrounding one of Napa County's most important recreational areas. We thank the Bureau of Reclamation for working with us and for providing the county the opportunity to bring back vibrant concessions at Lake Berryessa."

Supervisor Dillion represents District 3 that includes the northern section of the lake and Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza represents District 4 that covers the southern portion of Berryessa.

Lake Berryessa Boat and Jet Ski Rentals and Repair owner Marty Rodden hopes to see Spanish Flat, Monticello Shores and Steele Canyon redeveloped.

Lake Berryessa Boat & Jet Ski Rentals and Repair Owner Marty Rodden (Photo by Gary Quackenbush)

"A number of good companies plan to bid on one or more of these properties. I go to all of the prospective investor walk-throughs of designated resort sites. In the past, when developers found what it takes to rebuild facilities in California previously torn down, some had second thoughts."

He observed that 30-year leases, even with extensions, have been a limiting factor by not giving developers adequate time to be compensated for money put in. With the MPA, these leases can be extended to half a century.

"We are booked up solid through August for our wakeboard, ski and pontoon boat rentals as well as for jet skis, fishing boats, kayaks and paddle board reservations," Rodden said.

Read the full article at...



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