Evacuations Ordered as Wildfires Burn Out of Control in Northern California

Lightning-sparked fires continue to burn out of control across Northern California.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the extreme heat, thunderstorms, and lightning touching down hundreds of times in the North Bay caused many of the wildfires to begin.

Today, a letter from the governor’s office explained, Governor Gavin Newsom secured two Fire Management Assistance Grants  (FMAGs) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress  the LNU Lightning Complex Fire burning in Napa County and the Jones Fire burning in Nevada County.

The letter explained, “The FMAGs, which are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund on a cost-share basis, will assist local, state and tribal agencies responding to the fires to apply for 75-percent reimbursement of their eligible fire suppression costs. The LNU Lightning Complex is comprised of two separate fires (Hennessey Fire and Gamble Fire) under a single incident management team. Together, the fires have burned 7,700 acres, causing evacuations and threatening homes near Lake Hennessey and Zinfandel.”

Cal Fire shared the following messages about wildfire evacuations:

Cal Fire said the three large lightning-sparked wildfires in Napa County have scorched more than 12,000 acres and are 0% contained.

The Hennessey Fire burning east of St. Helena in the area of Hennessey Ridge and Chiles Pope Valley roads has charred 2,700 acres and destroyed one structure and two outbuildings, according to Cal Fire. Just over 200 structures remain threatened by the flames, reported NBC.

The Gamble Fire near Lake Berryessa has burned 5,000 acres, Cal Fire said. The 15-10 Fire in the area of Putah Creek Bridge and Berryessa Knoxville Road has scorched 4,500 acres.

“We understand the pandemic we’re in and public health is the No. 1 priority,” Napa County Supervisor, Alfredo Pedroza, told the SF Chronicle, noting his primary goal is to have enough shelter and personal protective for those evacuating.

NBC reported evacuation orders are in place for the following areas:

  • Highway 128 from Lower Chiles Valley Road to Monticello Road
  • Highway 128 from Chiles Pope Valley Road to Lower Chiles Valley Road
  • Chiles Pope Valley Road from Highway 128 to Lower Chiles Valley Road
  • All of Hennessey Ridge Road
  • Intersection of Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road to Spanish Valley, to include the Berryessa estates
  • From Moskowite Corner to Wooden Valley Road, including the community of Circle Oaks
  • Atlas Peak from the Bubbling Well Pet Cemetery at 2462 Atlas Peak Rd. to the dead end
  • From Loma Vista Road/Soda Canyon Road to the dead end

Evacuation warnings have been issued for the following areas:

  • Highway 128 at Silverado Trail to Chiles Pope Valley Road, including the Pritchard Hills Area
  • Highway 128 at Lower Chiles Valley Road to Turtle Rock
  • Butts Canyon Road from the Lake County line to James Creek

The following roadways have been closed:

  • Chiles Pope Valley Road
  • Sage Canyon Road
  • Highway 128

An evacuation center has been established at Crosswalk Community Church, which is located at 2590 First St. in Napa.

Cal Fire said firefighters are facing a number of challenges, including rugged terrain and unfavorable weather conditions. A heatwave gripping the Bay Area is expected to last through Wednesday.

Check fire.ca.gov for more updates.

Updated August 18, 2020 5:45pm

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