On Aug. 18, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide state of emergency.
Photo courtesy of: Le Wine Guest
On that day, driven by dry, gusty winds, five fires - Hennessy, Gamble, 15-10, Spanish and Markley - swept through eastern Napa County, burning 32,025 acres (about 12,960 hectares), displacing at least 5,700 people and continuing to spread into Napa. None of the fires were under control until the end of the day.
The fires were likely caused by a rare summer lightning storm that swept through the region on Sunday and Monday. According to a Cal Fire spokesman, as of the afternoon of Aug. 18 local time, nearly 6,000 lightning strikes in 24 hours had caused more than 200 forest fires from the San Francisco Bay area to California"s Gold County.
A series of evacuation orders have now been issued in Napa and Sonoma counties.
Just in time for the California grape harvest, fires are growing in Napa and Sonoma counties, posing a threat to local wineries and vineyards as well.
Wineries and vineyards within the confines of the fire include Foley Johnson Winery, Geodesy Winery's Sage Ridge Vineyard, and 130-year-old winemaking houses Nichelini Winery and Brown Estate.
On Monday, the winemaker at Geodesy Winery confirmed that the fire was burning at Sage Ridge Vineyard. I am very grateful to the foreman at Geodesy Vineyards who called in the fire, made sure everyone was safely evacuated, and also assisted with the installation of fire protection on site. The terrain in this area is challenging and this is a time of uncertainty, the fire is not under control and we have no way to verify the rumored information.
Nichelini Family Winery was among the vineyards threatened by the fire, which was built in 1890. According to reports on social media, the winery itself was saved, but some outbuildings were damaged or destroyed.
Brewery employees told reporters: We prepare for fires every year. A fire can be overwhelming. You just have to do the best you can.
The extent of the damage is difficult to determine at this time as evacuations and fires are still ongoing. So far, there appear to be no reports of the winery collapsing, and the fire is gradually spreading eastward through Solano County, Interstate 80 and Vacaville, a city of more than 100,000 people.
The phone has been ringing off the hook since 5:30 a.m. local time Wednesday morning for Sonoma County Wine Farmers Association President Karissa Kruse, mainly from wine farmers who want help with their N-95 masks or have other questions about the harvest.
She said:Yesterday morning, due to the high temperature, picking has been in full swing, in a safe place, growers have been harvesting this morning, shall be careful of smoke.