Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

More Flee California Wine Country As Deadly Wildfires Spread

More Flee California Wine Country As Deadly Wildfires Spread

Steady winds with gusts up to 45mph (72kph) with almost non-existent humidity are expected to descend on the areas north of San Francisco where at least 23 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed.

Calmer winds and higher humidity aided fire-suppression efforts Tuesday, but the winds are expected to turn gusty and swing 180 degrees on Wednesday, blowing from the northwest and challenging the containment lines that have been secured along the long southern flanks of the fires, said Neil Lareau of San Jose State University's Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.

Eighty firefighters comprise the strike teams, and another eight individuals have been sent to help out in various other roles.

Several wineries have also burned to the ground.

The team consists of one engine from the City of Santa Barbara, one from Santa Maria, one from Lompoc, one from Montecito and one from Carpinteria/Summerland. In Yuba County, the Cascade Fire was at 11,685 acres and was 20 percent contained.

The fires have burned more than 54,000 acres in the North Bay.

Also from last night, here is video of the woods burning in the Nuns Fire on Mt. Vedeer Road, on the Napa side of the ridge where the fire began early Monday.

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Kris Hammar, who lives in the city of Santa Rosa on the edge of a mandatory evacuation zone, had not yet evacuated but was monitoring maps, wind direction, and fire updates to see if she and her family should bolt.

The third team, led by a County Fire battalion chief and a trainee, is made up of five County Fire engines. "All of these fires are under investigation and it's certainly very early in the process", he said. "We're at the minimum (staffing) we can be".

"We are now assessing damage as first responders grant permission for our crews to safely access areas". They found their house standing on Monday but don't know when they will be able to go home for good. "If it's a big event, they'll get multiple engines". And along with that, you have the wind event that came through on Sunday through Northern California. Vegetation that blossomed in May and June dried out when summer temperatures soared, to record levels in some areas.

Winds are likely to pick back up Wednesday, with a possibility of gusts up to 50 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday's forecast is for similar conditions.

By Saturday, the winds will shift to the northeast, bringing the unsafe Sundowner condition that has driven so many wildfires along the Central Coast. These fires were driven by the critically dry fuel bed.

Calistoga Joint Unified School District and Saint Helena Unified School District have both canceled classes through the rest of this week because of the wildfires burning in Napa County since Sunday night, district officials said Tuesday.

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