Wednesday updates: Glass fire grows to 51,266 acres as damages increase
7:50 PM: Glass fire continues to grow, damages increase in Napa and Sonoma counties
The Glass fire continued to gain momentum Wednesday, growing to 51,266 acres by 7 p.m., an increase of 2,800 acres compared to the start of the day, Cal Fire said. Containment remained at 2%.
The tally of single-family homes destroyed by the blaze in Sonoma County grew to 36, up from the 28 reported Tuesday.
The fire has damaged 31 other homes and destroyed a building that was used as both a residential and commercial space, Cal Fire said.
One commercial building was destroyed and four others were damaged in Sonoma County.
Structural losses in Napa County included 107 homes, more than double reported on Tuesday, and five commercial buildings, Cal Fire said.
Those numbers are expected to increase further damage assessment is done in the areas impacted by the fires, officials have said.
7:12 PM: New evacuation orders and warnings issued for Napa County, north of Calistoga
New evacuations were ordered in Napa County north of Calistoga Wednesday at 7 p.m., Cal Fire said.
The order spanned areas between Old Lawley Toll Road and Pope Valley Road from Ink Grade Road and Aetna Springs Road.
They also included all recreational areas in and around the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Specifically, Table Rock Trail, Palisades Trail and Oat Hill Mine Trial were closed, Cal Fire said.
Highway 29 from Tubbs Lane to the Lake County line was still open for traffic.
New evacuation warnings also were issued in Napa County. They included:
– Areas north of Aetna Springs Road extending west to the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park trailhead on Highway 29 to the Lake County line between Highway 29 and Butts Canyon Road.
– West of Highway 29 from the Calistoga city limit to the Lake County line.
– North of Highway 29 from the Calistoga city limit to the Sonoma County line.
Homes along Highway 29 from Tubbs Lane to the Lake County line and Old Lawley Toll Road remained in an evacuation warning, Cal Fire said.
7 PM: Helicopters aid east Santa Rosa; Mount St. Helena a concern
Clearer skies are allowing helicopters to aid firefighters in putting out stubborn hot spots along the Highway 12 corridor in east Santa Rosa, Cal Fire Chief Ben Nicholls said in an evening briefing.
“We finally have that clean air that we’ve been waiting for all day along to (deploy) those helicopters to start helping the ground troops with the long process of getting in there to mop up those hot spots,” Nicholls said.
However, forecasters expect winds from the northwest to push smoke back over the North Bay, which could limit the visibility for aircraft.
In Napa County, Nicholls said the Glass fire burning near Mount St. Helena and Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is burning rapidly through forested terrain.
“That is the most active portion of the fire,” he said. “And for the entire complex, that is the priority piece for today because we don’t want it burning up Mount St. Helena and getting into Lake County to more remote country.”
6:30 PM: Statewide Flex Alert issued for Thursday
To prevent rolling blackouts as temperatures are expected to reach triple digits across parts of the state later this week, all Californians are asked to reduce their electricity use on Thursday.
Power grid managers have issued the voluntary statewide Flex Alert effective from 3-10 p.m. on Thursday.
Residents are asked to set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, turn off unnecessary lights and unplug unused electrical devices, among other energy saving measures.
5 PM: Shifting winds to worsen North Bay air quality
Shifting winds have begun blowing smoke from the Glass fire back over the North Bay, which could worsen already dismal local air quality, according to air quality regulators.
Forecasters expect haze and smog throughout the North Bay to reach “unhealthy” and in some areas “very unhealthy” levels through at least Friday, when a Spare the Air alert for the Bay Area is set to expire.
Offshore winds had been pushing wildfire smoke toward the ocean, said Juan Romero, a spokesperson with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Now, winds have started blowing inland from the northwest.
Romero added there’s a possibility the shifting winds could bring smoke form the massive North and August complex fires burning in Northern California.
While the air quality remains poor, officials are encouraging residents to stay inside with doors and windows closed as much as possible.
3:30 PM: Sonoma County Sheriff shares videos of Glass fire burn areas
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has shared videos giving a firsthand look at areas scorched by the Glass fire.