SANTA ROSA (CBS13/AP) — The latest on the destructive wildfires burning in Northern California’s wine country:
Firefighters say they hoped dying winds would enable them to bear down on wildfires that exploded in Napa and Sonoma counties, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations while a second blaze killed at least three people.
The Glass Fire raged through wine country on Monday, tripling in size to around 56.6 square miles (146.59 square kilometers) without any containment.
Some two dozen homes had burned, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The fire drove through brush that hadn’t burned for a century, even though surrounding areas were incinerated in a series of blazes in recent years.
But dry winds that gave the flames a ferocious push appeared to have eased by Monday evening and firefighters were feeling “much more confident,” said Ben Nicholls, a division chief with Cal Fire.
“We don’t have those critical burning conditions that we were experiencing those last two nights,” he said.
The Glass Fire is one of nearly 30 wildfires burning around California and the National Weather Service warned that hot, dry conditions with strong Santa Ana winds could remain a fire danger in Southern California into Tuesday.
In a forested far northern part of the state, more than 1,200 people were evacuated in Shasta County for the Zogg Fire.
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Three people have died in the fire, Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini said Monday. He gave no details but urged people who receive evacuation orders: “Do not wait.”
Residences are widely scattered in the area, which was torched just two years ago by the deadly Carr Fire — infamously remembered for producing a huge tornado-like fire whirl.
Previous day’s updates below:
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in three hard-hit counties Monday night after fires erupted in Red Flag conditions and were fanned by tropical-storm-force winds. The state of emergency included Napa and Sonoma counties, where the Glass Fire tripled in size Monday. It also covers Shasta County, where the deadly Zogg Fire claimed three lives Monday.
READ: Glass Fire Destroys Santa Rosa Homes, Reminder Of Deadly Tubbs Fire
Authorities say the fire burned one acre every five seconds, the flames engulfing homes, vineyards, and wineries. The entire city of Calistoga has been ordered to evacuate. In total, nearly 70,000 residents were forced to flee, many in the middle of the night.
The fast-moving fire has been unpredictable, damaging or destroying at least seven vineyards, including Chateau Boswell, Black Rock Inn, and Meadowood Resort, with many more still in jeopardy as the fire is still 0% contained.
Evacuations continue is Napa and Sonoma counties following fires developing over the weekend. As of Monday evening, Cal Fire said the Glass Fire has burned 36,236 acres and is 0% contained.
“I mean I just saw a flame right on that hill right there,” said Richard Bambery.
Bambery was nearly in tears Monday describing the blaze near his Napa County home.
“I just saw a flame over there. Hopefully, it doesn’t burn down the folk’s house,” he said.
Flames raged throughout the hills while crews battled several spot fires. They’ve been up against dangerous fire conditions with the weather being dry and hot.
“It’s two miles up the street, the fire, and just three weeks ago it was right over this ridge,” Bambery explained.
CBS13 caught several spot fires in Deer Park, Calistoga and Saint Helena.
John Millious lost almost everything.
“I was so distraught, thinking, is it coming? Am I going to be burnt up now?” Millious said.
He escaped the flames with his passport, medication, cell phone and iPad.
“So I have to take it a day at a time,” he said.
The Sonoma Raceway is opening its 50 Acres campground as a temporary evacuation area.
Officials say the raceway can handle up to 2,000 campers during its usual major event weekends.
The campground is directly across from the raceway off Highway 121 and has not been affected by the fires.
Evacuees are being urged to enter the campground at Gate 6 off the highway.