Devastating Wildfires destroying parts of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, Aaron Romano
Our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone affected by the fires currently raging in parts of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.

Updated: At Least 11 Dead and Three Wineries Destroyed in Massive Wildfires Devastating Parts of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

Gusting winds spread multiple blazes in a matter of hours, triggering mass evacuations and destroying Frey Vineyards, Signorello Estate and Paradise Ridge wineries, as well as businesses and homes.

Update at 11:00 a.m. PST: The owners of Frey Vineyards in Mendocino report that their winery was destroyed, but that they are safe. The Mendocino fire grew another 3,000 acres, totaling 21,000.

Update at 8:00 a.m. PST: California authorities report at least 11 fatalities in the wildfires. According to the latest Cal Fire incident reports, fires are now burning in 11 counties and have spread to more than 115,000 acres, with the Mendocino fire nearly doubling in size since midday Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown has extended the state of emergency to Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange Counties. Nicholson Ranch Winery has not been destroyed, as some media reported. The owners of Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, confirm the winery was destroyed by flames, but the family and staff are safe.

Multiple wildfires spread across large portions of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties Sunday night continuing through Tuesday morning, forcing thousands from their homes, burning hundreds of structures and scorching tens of thousands of acres. Signorello Estate Winery, Frey Vineyards and Paradise Ridge Winery were destroyed, portions of Stags' Leap Winery were burned and several more wineries are reportedly threatened.

The two largest blazes are situated in Napa Valley’s eastern hills, near Atlas Peak, and in the northern part of Sonoma’s city of Santa Rosa. But the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire), the state fire agency, reports that, as of Monday evening, there are 15 large fires and numerous smaller blazes in surrounding areas, including in Calistoga, Glen Ellen and Carneros, as well as in surrounding counties.

All the fires ignited on Sunday night, stoked by high temperatures, dry conditions and gusting winds that have reached 50 to 70 mph in some areas. By Tuesday morning, more than 118,000 acres in 11 counties had been burned, Cal Fire reported. According to California emergency officials, 11 fatalities have been confirmed: seven in Sonoma County, two in Napa County, one in Mendocino County and one in Yuba County.

According to Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire, more than 1,500 buildings had burned. "We need every resident to heed evacuation warnings and orders and move out quickly," said Pimlott, at a press conference on Monday. Firefighter teams are struggling to contain the fires, which show no sign of ending amid high winds and hot and dry weather. The California National Guard has sent medical evacuation helicopters, firefighting helicopters and military police to assist local law enforcement.

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Thomas Davidson

Thomas joined in May 2019 after graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BA in History & Ancient Cultures and completing a certificate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School in Stellenbosch. He moonlights as a radio presenter at MFM - and has an incredible passion for wine. 
We are delighted to have him on the team.