Two thousand people in California’s Napa Valley wine growing area have been ordered to evacuate their homes, and another 3,000 have been told to prepare to, amid rapidly-spreading wildfires which have destroyed at least one winery.
Chateau Boswell, a 40-year-old family-run winery near St Helena, was on fire on Sunday night, as firefighters desperately tried to put out the blaze.
Napa County Office of Emergency Services said 64 wineries sit within the evacuation or evacuation warning areas, along with rural estates and remote, unincorporated communities.
High winds, gusting at 55mph, were hampering attempts to put out the Glass Fire, which broke out at 3:50am on Sunday and has so far burned 2,500 acres near St. Helena.
St. Helena, around 15 miles north of Napa, has been the site of prized wineries since the 1860s. The area is home to Beringer, one of California’s oldest continuously operating wineries, founded by Jacob Beringer and his brother Frederick in 1875. Some wines produced in the region sell for more than $460 a bottle.
Chateau Boswell was the first winery to be certified Napa Green, in recognition of their environmental protection efforts
The Glass Mountain Inn is engulfed by flames after a blaze broke out in St Helena, California, on Sunday, destroying a number of homes
Chateau Boswell, a 40-year-old family-run winery near St Helena was on fire on Sunday night
The steeple at Chateau Boswell Winery burns as the Glass Fire moves through the area, destroying more than 2,500 acres
A plane is seen dumping fire retardant chemicals on the hillsides above the vineyards of Napa Valley
A Marin County firefighter is seen battling the Glass Fire in Calistoga as the flames ripped through fields and homes in the area
Embers fall from a tree in St Helena as fire fighters struggled to control the blaze which has rampaged through the state
A vineyard was destroyed by the horrific fire which illuminated the sky orange and decimated much of the beautiful landscape
The Glass Mountain Inn was engulfed by blames, completely destroying the popular bed & breakfast in Napa Valley
Fire officials look on as the Glass Fire burns closed to Viader Vineyards and Winery in Deer Park, Napa County, on Sunday
The fire is still raging over 2,500 acres near the Napa Valley where many famous vineyards are located in the latest in a spate of wildfires
The area is also flanked by the LNU Lightning Complex, which was sparked on August 17 and has destroyed 363,000 acres. It is now 98 per cent contained – unlike the Glass Fire, which is entirely uncontained.
County emergency management officials say 743 homes and 1,857 people are within the Glass Fire evacuation zone, the Press Democrat reported.
A further 1,370 homes and 3,425 people are in the larger evacuation warning zone.
Some were evacuated from their homes before dawn, and evacuations continued throughout the day.
Among those evacuated were 50 patients at Adventist Health St. Helena hospital in Deer Park.
It was the second wildfire-related evacuation of the 151-bed hospital in a month, after a massive cluster of lightning-sparked blazes that swept several counties north of the San Francisco Bay region in August.
A 48-hour red flag warning, that started at 9pm on Saturday and was expected to last until 9pm on Monday, was the basis for the hospital evacuation and extensive residential evacuations.
Fourteen sheriffs deputies from Napa County went door-to-door telling people to evacuate, using high-low sirens to alert residents.
The cause of the fire is being investigated and there were no immediate reports of injuries
The Glass Fire burns behind Merus Wines vineyards in Napa Valley after a heatwave and dry winds created the perfect storm for the blaze to take hold
Vines from the Viader Vineyards were engulfed in smoke on Sunday afternoon as the Glass Fire blazed out of control
Planes dropped tonnes of red fire retardant chemicals on the Davis Estates winery near Calistoga
A fountain outside the Glass Mountain Inn is illuminated by the roaring fires which are destroying the property in the background
A large region of northern California was battling the raging fires as many homes were destroyed in the inferno
Chateau Boswell’s roof was in flames as the blaze ripped through the region in the latest terrifying wildfire
The hillsides above the Davis Estates vineyard were ablaze on Sunday, and firefighters were working to protect the site
The blaze erupted midway through the traditional grape-harvesting period in the Napa Valley, world renowned as one of California’s premiere wine-producing regions.
The area’s 475 wineries account for just 4 per cent of the state’s total annual grape harvest but half of the retail value of all California wines sold, according to the Napa Valley Vintners trade group.
Of Napa’s 16 wine-growing districts, or sub-appellations, the Howell Mountain area may have faced the greatest threat, said Lisa Covey, a spokeswoman for Hall Family Wines, which kept open during the day all its three tasting rooms in the county.
Napa and other wine-growing regions have been hit by wildfires in and around the Bay area for several years. Susan Krausz, co-owner of Arkenstone Estate Vineyards in the Howell Mountain community of Angwin, said it would take days or weeks to assess the impact of the latest blaze on valley vintners.
‘Most people have harvested,’ she said, but added, ‘Any time’s a bad time for a fire.’
Napa Valley has been famed for its vineyards since the 1860s and produces wines that can sell for more than $460 a bottle
The blaze erupted midway through the traditional grape-harvesting period in the Napa Valley, world renowned as one of California’s premiere wine-producing regions
California wildfires have scorched more than 3.7 million acres in the first nine months of 2020, far exceeding any single year in state history
Chris Maschauser rides an ATV to cut off a heard of goats from Mascauser Vineyards and Ranch which had been hired to eat underbrush in order to protect it from the advance of the fire
Tom Kaljian, 78, a realtor who owns a house about halfway between Calistoga and St. Helena, defied evacuation orders to spend the day with his wife hosing down their home and dry brush along a fence line separating their property from the Silverado Trail, a key north-south roadway.
‘We were told to get out of here, but I was trying to protect our little abode, so we stayed,’ he told Reuters by telephone.
After firefighters told him the house was no longer in danger, he added, ‘I stopped watering at that point, and came in and took a nap.’
The Glass Fire came as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company said it was temporarily halting power to transmission lines in parts of 16 counties across northern and central California to guard against greater wildfire risks in hot, windy, dry weather.
The public safety power shutoffs were expected to affect about 65,000 regional homes and businesses, said PG&E, the state’s largest electric utility.
California wildfires have scorched more than 3.7 million acres in the first nine months of 2020, far exceeding any single year in state history, killing 26 people and destroying more than 7,000 structures.
A Cal Fire fire engine drives into the Louis Stralla Water Treatment Plant during the Glass Fire
The moon rises behind burning trees along the famous Silverado Trail road, home to dozens of celebrated wineries
A palm tree on fire as the Glass Fire rages along the famous Silverado Trail road in the town of Deer Park
Firefighters protect a residence from the encroaching Glass Fire at a vineyard in Deer Park
‘We are very concerned tonight about red flag conditions,’ said Janet Upton, spokeswoman for the Napa County Office of Emergency Services.
She said that many of the communities were isolated and reached via narrow, winding mountain roads, which made the decision to evacuate more pressing.
Upton said the dry conditions and high winds were worrying firefighters.
‘There’s been discussion of relative humidity in elevations in the fire area as low as 0 per cent — and kiln-dried wood is at 9 per cent,’ Upton said.
‘That factor alone, without the winds, would drive dangerous fire behavior.’
The spectacular 100-year-old Davis Estate winery, with its beautiful wooden tasting room, was considered under threat.
So too was Reverie, founded 25 years ago on a lush Napa hillside.
Photos posted on social media showed planes flying above the Davis Estate, dropping fire retardant chemicals to try and protect the property.
Cal Fire used a DC10 plane, which was capable of dropping almost 10,000 gallons of retardant in eight seconds on each pass.
Chateau Boswell was beyond help. The winery was one of a handful of privately-owned family wineries amidst the 554 wineries in the Napa Valley.
On Sunday the winery was ablaze, with firefighters trying to save what they could of the ravaged buildings and vines.
County emergency management officials say 743 homes and 1,857 people are within the Glass Fire evacuation zone
Chateau Boswell, a winery founded 40 years ago, was engulfed by flames on Sunday afternoon
The lovingly-tended grapes, producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines, went up in smoke on Sunday
Trees surrounding the famous Silverado Trail went up in flames on Sunday as the Glass Fire raged