Wildfires in Napa and Sonoma CA counties force evacuations

Find Monday’s wildfire updates here: Thousands evacuated, homes threatened, winery burns in Northern California

Original story:

A group of wildfires, including one that tore through 2,500 acres of Napa County during the day, saw fierce growth Sunday night in California’s wine country, threatening to reach Santa Rosa in an eerily similar firestorm that played out three years earlier and prompting urgent evacuations.

Structures burned in the blazes, collectively managed as the Glass Fire, included the Chateau Boswell winery, which was engulfed in flames in video recorded by Bee visual journalist Daniel Kim, on the Silverado Trail outside St. Helena. The Glass Mountain Inn also burned.

A second fire in the area, called the Boysen Fire, was threatening rugged terrain west of St. Helena across the Mayacamas Mountains into Sonoma County.

At 9:50 p.m., the Napa County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for unincorporated areas from the 2900 block of White Sulpher Springs Road, which is at the city limits of St. Helena, to the dead end and north to Spring Mountain Road. Evacuation warnings were also issued within St. Helena’s city limits, from Elmhurst Avenue to Madrona Avenue west of Highway 29 to the city limits. Updates from the Napa County Sheriff’s Office are available on its Facebook page.

To the west of the Glass and Boysen fires, the eastern fringes of Santa Rosa were immediately threatened by the Shady Fire, which began Sunday evening.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered from 1650 South Whitehall Lane north to White Sulpher Springs Road west to the county line. Evacuations were also ordered by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office from St. Helena Road to Highway 12. Updates from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office are available on its Facebook page.

Santa Rosa officials issued evacuation orders for Calistoga North, Calistoga South / Skyhawk, Melita, Oakmont, Pythian and Stonebridge. A temporary evacuation point has been set up in Santa Rosa at A Place To Play, 2375 W. 3rd St. Updates to Santa Rosa’s evacuations are available on the city’s website.

Real-time map of wind gusts in Sonoma and Napa counties

Source: Windy.com

“It really is horrifying to see this happening … again,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said on social media. “Winds tonight are not expected to be as extreme as during Oct. 2017 North Bay (Tubbs) firestorm, but this does not look good. Really does appear this could make it to eastern Santa Rosa by morning.”

In another tweet, Swain suggested that evacuations were being outstripped by the speed of the fire, part of which is burning in an area that hasn’t seen a major fire in almost a century and is near where the 2017 Tubbs Fire decimated areas of Sonoma and Napa counties. “If you are on eastern side of Santa Rosa, I’d be prepared to leave in a matter of hours,” Swain added.

“This is extremely hard to say, but within past hour Butte County and Sonoma County officials have both issued nighttime emergency evacuation orders for some of the same areas previous burned by the Tubbs Fire in 2017 and Camp Fire in 2018. Please be vigilant tonight,” he added.

The wildfire, called the Glass Fire, was burning east of Calistoga and west of Angwin at 800 acres after Cal Fire first reported it at 4:45 a.m. The fire swelled to 1,000 acres by noon, reflecting the fast rate of growth that had firefighters anxious of nearby residences. By 4 p.m., it had grown to 1,500 acres.

Cal Fire’s Lake-Napa-Sonoma Unit said that the vegetation fire had a “dangerous rate of spread” and was pushing toward the community of Deer Park.

Several evacuation orders are already in place, including Deer Park, which has a population of about 1,200. All residents of Crystal Springs and North Fork Crystal Springs roads have been told to leave. College Avenue between Howell Mountain Road and White Cottage Road has also been evacuated. All of Freisen Drive and Lommel Road were also included in evacuation orders.

Glass, Boysen and Shady fires in Sonoma and Napa counties

Red circles on this live-updating map are actively burning areas, as detected by satellite. Orange circles have burned in the past 12 to 24 hours, and yellow circles have burned within the past 48 hours. Yellow areas represent the fire perimeter.
Source: National Interagency Fire Center

By Sunday afternoon, additional areas were given evacuation orders. All those on the east side of Silverado Trail between Deer Park Road and Meadowview Road were told to evacuate. Meadowood Napa Valley, a large hotel and golf club, was included in this order. An evacuation warning was also issued for the east side of the Silverado Trail between Howell Mountain and Taplin Road, an area which includes several vineyards.

Adventist Health St. Helena, a hospital in Deer Park, was forced to stop all medical treatment and transfer all patients out due to the fire.

An evacuation center is open at Crosswalk Community Church, 2590 First St., Napa.

Firefighters have yet to contain the fire and are anticipating poor conditions.

“We are expecting winds throughout the day as forecasted,” Cal Fire LNU wrote in a social media update.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.

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