Despite mass evacuation orders in surrounding areas authorities have resisted calls to evacuate the two adjacent prisons – California Medical Facility (CMF) and Solano state prison. In Los Angeles, a separate fire has grown near the Lancaster state prison, which has also suffered a significant Covid outbreak.

“They are breathing in fire and smoke, and they have nowhere to run,” said Sophia Murillo, 39, whose brother is incarcerated at CMF in Vacaville. “Everyone has evacuated but they were left there in prison. Are they going to wait until the last minute to get them out?”

To increase social distancing and limit the spread of Covid, CMF had moved 80 people to sleep in outdoor tents instead of indoor cells, but with the fire approaching and air pollution rising, the prison moved them back indoors. Murillo said she now fears a major Covid outbreak inside the prison, and noted that mass evacuations could also spread the virus if people are packed in buses together.