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Wine Spectator: Massive California Wine-Country Fires Worsen, Sending More Residents Fleeing

October 12, 2017

Residents of Northern California wine country were wondering if they would lose everything Wednesday as several large wildfires continued to spread throughout Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, advancing on more towns, including Calistoga and Geyserville, which are under mandatory evacuation orders, and getting closer to the outskirts of the city of Napa, in the south of the appellation.

Last night, new mandatory evacuations were ordered for parts of eastern Sonoma Valley and again in parts of Santa Rosa, where some residents who left Oct. 8 and 9 had been able to return home, along with evacuation advisories for eastern neighborhoods in the city of Napa.

The death toll from the fires that started October 8 and 9 has risen to 23, and more than 170,000 acres, up from 124,000 on Tuesday, had burned throughout the state since Sunday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire).

The biggest was the Atlas fire in the eastern hills of Napa County, which had topped 42,000 acres Wednesday morning and was listed as only 3% contained. Parts were spreading into neighboring Solano County, home to the Suisun Valley and Green Valley American Viticultural Areas. Sonoma had multiple blazes, while Mendocino’s Redwood fire had grown to 30,000 acres.

A total of 3,500 homes and businesses were reported destroyed or damaged in the three northern counties. At least seven wineries have been significantly or totally damaged—five in Napa, including Signorello Estate and White Rock Vineyards; Sonoma’s Paradise Ridge Vineyards and Mendocino’s Frey Vineyards. Another 11 in Napa have reported to the Napa Valley Vintners that they have some damage to the winery, other buildings or vineyards; Sonoma and Mendocino are still tallying damage reports.

Wine Spectator has a full report on the ongoing crisis, as well as an updated tally of damages to wineries across the region.

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