California wildfires threaten wine country as forced evacuations begin

by on October 27, 2019

Northern California blazes are threatening top vineyards as a massive stretch of wine country was forced to evacuate.

Two vineyards were destroyed early Sunday after officials ordered evacuations for most of Sonoma County, stretching from Healdsburg west to Bodega Bay on the coast, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

About 90,000 residents were required to evacuate while blazes tore through Healdsburg, engulfing Soda Rock Winery and Field Stone Winery early Sunday near Highway 128, the outlet reported.

“Highway 128 was the front line,” Peardale Fire Protection District Chief Jim Bierwagen said. “When the winds picked up, the fire spilled over the highway.”

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Strong gusts of wind prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to cut off power Saturday for an estimated 2.35 million people across 38 counties in an effort to prevent more fires.

The National Weather Service said winds may reach 75 mph or higher, creating a “historic” wind event that could lead to “erratic fire behavior.”

Cal Fire spokesman Edwin Zuniga said Sunday the strong winds may prove to complicate firefighting efforts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“We knew it was going to be a long fight for us,” he said. “For the next 48 hours, it’s going to be hard, because it takes our air game out of play.”

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New York Post

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