ST. HELENA (CBS SF) — The raging Glass Fire roared through wine county near St. Helena Sunday night as two additional wildfires forced mandatory evacuations near Santa Rosa and left a path of new destruction in a region already ravaged by blazes.
The Glass Fire quickly grew to more than 2,500 acres, burning through vineyards, destroying structures and driving at least 2,000 local residents from their homes.
On Sunday evening, a small army of firefighters was waging a fierce battle with the fire, trying to keep it from jumping the Silverado Trail, but it appeared the flames had crossed the major roadway in several places. A wall of flames was threatening the Adventist Health St. Helena hospital (which had been evacuated earlier Sunday) and homes in Deer Park.
By shortly before 10 p.m., the fire had jumped both the Silverado Trail and the Napa River.
The #glassfire is jumping the river. This is Lodi Road, just west of Silverado Trail at the Napa River. #glasscomplex pic.twitter.com/Cctxw3djDv
The fire also jumped Highway 29 near the Culinary Institute of America, triggering mandatory evacuation orders for residents living in the area west of Highway 29 from Deer Park Road to Elmhurst and all of Spring Mountain Road.
That evacuation area was expanded at 11:44 p.m. to west of Highway 29 from Deer Park Road to Bothe Park Road west to the county line. Additionally, an evacuation warning was in place for the area west of Highway 29 from Booth State Park to Diamond Mountain Road west to the county line.
Shortly after 11 p.m. an earlier evacuation warning for Howell Mountain Road to the dead end of Conn Valley and all of Rossi Road and Greenfield Road was upgraded to a mandatory evacuation order.
Two other wildfires erupted in the area Sunday night. The Boysen Fire was burning off Spring Mountain Road just west of St Helena while the Shady Fire was burning toward the west near Santa Rosa.
A growing evacuation order area extends from St. Helena Road — where the two new fires sparked Sunday evening — all the way to Highway 12.
Santa Rosa Police have issued evacuation orders for the areas of Calistoga North, Calistoga South/Skyhawk, Oakmont North, Oakmont South, Melita, Stonebridge and Pythian. Residents were told to leave the area immediately and head south.
Evacuation warnings were issued for the areas of Summerfield, Spring Lake, Northeast 2 and Northeast/Middle Rincon shortly before midnight.
There were reports that city buses were being used to evacuate seniors from Oakmont Village, a retirement community near Santa Rosa as well as other assisted-living centers in the area.
More detailed information on the evacuation orders can be found on the Santa Rosa Police nixel alert page.
Two temporary evacuation points were operational in Santa Rosa at A Place to Play on 2375 West 3rd Street and at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building at 1351 Maple Avenue. Another temporary evacuation point was set up at the Petaluma Veterans Hall.
There were reports that the Boysen Fire and the Shady Fire were close to merging after 11 p.m.
The Sonoma County Sheriff tweeted just after midnight that residents evacuating from the Boysen and Shady Fires should head east on Highway 12 towards Sonoma as traffic traveling west towards Santa Rosa was gridlocked.
9/28 12:02 AM Head EAST on Highway 12 towards Sonoma if you’re evacuating from the #ShadyFire and #BoysenFire. Westbound traffic towards Santa Rosa on Hwy 12 is gridlocked.
The #GlassFire, #ShadyFire and #BoysenFire continue to move rapidly west through Napa Valley towards the much more populated Sonoma County. The active fire front is only ~7 miles away from Santa Rosa. Stay vigilant tonight. @CAFireScanner @Weather_West @ai6yrham #CAwx #CAfire pic.twitter.com/d4JL5sVuaH
On Sunday afternoon, air tankers — including DC-10s and a 747 — waged a fierce battle with the flames as the fire took a run in Bell Canyon and toward the Bell Hill Reservoir.
Due to the topography – steep terrain with minimal access – there was no way to fight the fire from the ground. It has to be from air.
After waking up to fire alerts and messages from worried friends, Amy Bordeau of Calistoga said she grabbed the same bag she recently used when evacuating from another nearby wildfire.
Deputy Matt Macomber, one of several deputies currently evacuating parts of Napa County, posted a frightening video on social media of driving down a fire-surrounded lane in the hills.
Glass Fire: Never wait til the last second to evacuate. This video is from Deputy Matt Macomber, one of several deputies currently evacuating parts of Napa County. pic.twitter.com/YQXFirJ0aV
Napa County officials have set up evacuation center at Crosswalk Community Church, 2590 First Street in Napa. The sheriff’s department asked the evacuated residents to clear out of the area.
“When evacuating, please leave the area,” deputies posted. “Do not stop/park in turnouts to view the fire. First responders often need access to the turnouts to park emergency vehicles.”
The #GlassFire #GlassIncident has made its way to Adventist Health, the hospital that was evacuated this morning. Crews are trying to hold the fire on the west side of Sanitarium Rd by putting out hot spots as the fire burns up toward the road. The wind is in their favor. @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/kjgHkz4Knf
Over just a few hours since the blaze was first reported at 3:50 a.m., the fire had grown to more than 1,200 acres with zero containment. The fire was being fueled by tinder-dry vegetation on the rural hillsides after weeks of high temperatures and low humidity.
Videos posted on social media showed structures ablaze. Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan posted video of one of those structures burning.
Several homes are burning as the #GlassFire has scorched close to 1,000 acres in St Helena, CA in a matter of hours. pic.twitter.com/fm0k0XanA0
The area, located between St. Helena and Calistoga off North Silverado Rd., is home to dozens of wineries. Among those threatened by flames was Reverie Winery, Viader Winery and Davis Estates winery.
“We found out this morning at 4:45 that the fire started at the 200 block of Crystal Springs and, considering our address is 264 it was a pretty scary moment, for sure,” Reverie owner Grant Long told KPIX 5.
Long made the spooky drive to his winery Sunday afternoon, wondering if it would still be there. The neighbor’s house across the street is gone, but thanks to the vineyards and a lot of defensible space, the winery lives on.
“It was very surreal for a moment because it’s almost like it wasn’t here and you have to see it to believe it and being able to pull up and see it,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”
Cal Fire said its crews were fighting a “vegetation fire with dangerous rate of spread.” Meanwhile, PG&E said it “turned off power for about 3,000 customers between approximately 4:30 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. Sunday morning in Napa County as a precaution.
Air support from tankers and helicopters began making water and fire retardant drops after 8 a.m. Fire crews that have been battling the nearby LNU Lightning Complex fire for more than a month were being hurried to the area.
#GlassFire E side Napa Valley E of Silverado Trail cross of Larkmead Ln. VLAT 944 #airforce #calfire pic.twitter.com/oWjFUJc4Sp
A picture from the #glassfire in St. Helena – yikes! At Crystal Springs Road. (photo credit to Caroline Garcia) pic.twitter.com/SYPSTVWQjX
Angwin Fire officials told their local residents to get prepared if they need to evacuate — “Angwin is under advisory evacuation. Please consider safely departing off the mountain.”
The fire was not related to the LNU Lightning Complex fire which has burned 363,200 acres in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties and was 98 percent contained as of Saturday evening.
On top of the elevated smoke plume from the Sierra wildfires that will gradually move closer to our area this evening, there is now a thin line of elevated smoke coming from the #GlassFire #GlassIncident that is being driven by offshore winds into Sonoma and Marin counties. #CaWx pic.twitter.com/9BPnTUDGo8
The area was under a red flag fire warning for weather conditions that include gusty winds, low humidity and warm early morning temperatures.
“Currently, wind gusts of between 30 and 40 mph are being observed above 1500 feet in the North and East Bay, and Mount Saint Helena (elev. 4300 feet) has been reporting gusts as high as 65 mph early this morning,” the National Weather Service said early Sunday.
News – Glass Fire Update: Residents Flee Area Around St. Helena; New Boysen, Shady Fires Force Evacuations Near Santa Rosa; Wall Of Flames Jumps Silverado Trail