A few short days ago the Valley fire erupted into a full blown monster seemingly overnight, covering 65,000+ acres across southern Lake County. It has quickly become Lake County’s most destructive fire this year, and as of today is at just 15% containment. As it creeps toward the border of Napa and Sonoma county, residents in Calistoga are on edge, and many families in Angwin have already been evacuated. That includes most of the families who live on Howell Mountain.
— CAL FIRE PIO Berlant (@CALFIRE_PIO) September 15, 2015
Meanwhile, in more severely impacted areas like Red Hills, where Andy Beckstoffer has 1,500 acres of grapes planted, the situation has already escalated. While his vineyards are out of harm’s way, the roads they use to access them are blocked and harvest is temporarily on hold. Dave Guffy, who directs winemaking at Hess Collection is also keeping a close eye on the fire, as much of their production depends on grapes from their vineyards in Lake County.
There are currently 5,000 buildings without power, and 9,000 structures are in danger. Over 500 homes have been destroyed, with the town of Middleton taking a huge amount of damage. So far more than 20,000 people have already been evacuated, most of them taking refuge in Calistoga or at the Napa Fairgrounds.