Two Enormous California Fires Rage Unchecked in State’s Northern Counties

Tens of thousands of residents must evacuate their homes, and more than 100 wineries in Napa Valley are at risk of burning.

Wildfires continued to rage across California on Tuesday, forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes in several counties and threatening restaurants and wineries in the state’s northern wine country.

As two massive blazes consumed large expanses of the state throughout the morning, California was rapidly advancing toward a record four million acres burned in a single year.

The Glass Fire, which began as three separate fires on Sunday that merged, continued expanding across Napa County on Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, it had consumed more than 45,000 acres — many with no history of wildfires — and still posed a threat to major residential areas, according to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

“We’re trying to protect the city of Santa Rosa as best we can and control this fire,” Billy See, a Cal Fire incident commander, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Santa Rosa, a city of around 170,000 residents and about 50 miles north of San Francisco, has also faced power outages over the past 24 hours, according to the city’s police chief.

At least 80 homes and two commercial buildings in Napa and Sonoma Counties had been destroyed as of Tuesday evening, with 2 percent of the fire contained, according to Cal Fire. Across the region, thousands were ordered to evacuate their homes and businesses. The evacuation area included 148 wineries.

Castello di Amorosa, a 13th-century-style winery in Calistoga known for a Tuscan castle on the property, said the fire destroyed a farmhouse that contained part of its wine inventory, a fermentation room, a laboratory and office space, resulting in $10 million to $12 million in damages.

“It’s a complete, total loss,” said Jim Sullivan, vice president of marketing and public relations for the winery.

The Zogg Fire, which started Sunday afternoon near the rural community of Igo, about 200 miles north of the Glass Fire, also continued to rage on Tuesday. The fire, which has taken at least three lives and destroyed at least 146 structures across Shasta County, has consumed more than 50,000 acres, according to a spokesman for Cal Fire. It was 0 percent contained as of Tuesday evening.

Firefighters have been forced to jump from fire to fire to fire across California in recent weeks. Even once these fires are quelled, Cal Fire does not expect to see a slowdown.

“We still have a lot of this season to go,” said Shana Jones, Cal Fire’s unit chief for Sonoma, Lake and Napa Counties. She urged residents to heed evacuation warnings.

“A garden hose is not going to protect your home,” she said. “You need to leave.”

Concepción de León contributed reporting

Via NYTimes

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