Elderly residents among those evacuated as firefighters battle devastating new forest fires in wine country north of San Francisco.
Firefighters in the state of California battled devastating new forest fires in the wine country north of San Francisco on Monday as high winds sparked flames in the already badly burned state.
The new fires broke out on Sunday in the famous Napa-Sonoma wine region and in Shasta County in the far north of California, forcing districts to be hastily evacuated.
A flame, since then called the Glass Fire, lit near Calistoga, about 100 kilometers north of San Francisco, on Sunday morning and was fanned by gusts of dry wind through the region’s famous vineyards. More than a thousand firefighters are struggling to contain the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire).
In the wine country, flames engulfed the characteristic Chateau Boswell winery north of St. Helena, the Black Rock Inn in the small community of St. Helena and several houses in the city of Santa Rosa, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Residents of a retirement home were among the evacuees.
Adventist Health St. Helena Hospital stopped supply and moved all patients to another location, as advertised on its website.
According to Cal Fire, the wine country’s flame had burned 44 square kilometers by early Monday.
It was the latest inferno in a historically devastating year in the entire western United States. In California alone, forest fires have scorched 1.5 million acres, far more than any year in the state’s history. Since August 15, fires in the state have killed 26 people and destroyed more than 7,000 buildings.
New evacuation orders were issued early Monday in Sonoma and Napa counties, including parts of the cities of Santa Rosa and St. Helena.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning by the end of Monday predicting low humidity and gusts of wind of up to 89 km / h through certain canyons.
Numerous studies in recent years have linked major forest fires in America to global warming from the burning of coal, oil, and gas, particularly because climate change has made California much drier. A drier California means plants are more flammable.
Evacuations were also ordered in Shasta County as the fire, called the Zogg Fire, spread.
The causes of both new fires were investigated.
During the weekend, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric turned off electricity in certain areas where the wind increased the potential for arcing or other damage to power systems that could start new fires.
So far this year, more than 8,100 forest fires in California have scorched 14,970 km², destroyed more than 7,000 buildings and killed 26 people.
Most of the casualties occurred after a madness of dry lightning strikes triggered a massive fire in mid-August.
Conditions have also been hot, dry, and windy in parts of Arizona, where the Sears Fire in the Tonto National Forest north of Phoenix has grown to more than 36 km² since it broke out on Friday afternoon. The authorities did not report any containment.