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Live updates: North Bay fires grow to a combined 124,100 acres with no containment

Check here for latest updates on the fires burning in Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties:

10 PM: Evacuation orders extend into Lake County, south of Middletown

Residents of southern Lake County were told to evacuate late Wednesday, a Cal Fire news release said.

The evacuation orders encompassed areas east of Highway 29 beginning at Napa County’s northern border to the southern intersection of Highway 29 at St. Helena Creek Road in Lake County.

All of St. Helena Creek Road, from Highway 29 until the Butts Canyon Intersection, was also under evacuation. Middletown was excluded from the order, fire officials said.

8:30 PM: Healdsburg residents warned they may need to evacuate

Healdsburg officials issued an evacuation warning Wednesday night, telling residents they may be ordered to evacuate as the Walbridge fire in the hills to west continues to grow.

The alert was issued at about 8:13 p.m. through Nixle. It asked residents to not wait to gather their belongings and to check on neighbors to make sure they knew about the warning.

People who feel they are in danger were asked to leave the area in advance, the notice said. Officials warned residents to drive slowly and to yield for emergency personnel.

There was no immediate threat to Windsor residents, located one town over, Windsor officials said Wednesday night.

8 PM: Napa County orders additional evacuations, including St. Helena Hospital

Officials ordered additional evacuations in northern Napa County Wednesday evening, among them the St. Helena Hospital and the community of Angwin.

The new evacuation orders spanned:

– East of Highway 29 from the Lake County line to Silverado Trail.

– East of Silverado Trail from Highway 29 to Highway 128.

– Northwest of Highway 128 to Chiles Pope Valley Road and northwest of Pope Valley Road to Butts Canyon Road.

They also included the residential communities of Angwin and Deer Park east of St. Helena.

A complete list of the evacuation orders in Napa County as of Wednesday night were available on the Napa County Office of Emergency Services’ Nixle page.

7:40 PM: Fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties reach combined 124,100 acres in size

A group of lightning-sparked fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties continued to grow Wednesday, totaling a combined 124,100 acres in size with no containment, Cal Fire said.

Firefighters were seeing short and long range spotting of the blazes, as well as fires that were moving in multiple directions, Cal Fire said. Four civilians had been injured as a result of the fires, the agency said.

The largest fire, the Hennessey fire in Napa County, had spread to 100,000 acres. Three other blazes, the Gamble, Green and Markley fires, were merged with the Hennessey fire, Cal Fire said.

The nearby Spanish fire was at 4,100 acres and the Morgan Fire, which straddled both Napa and Lake counties, was at 3,500 acres, Cal Fire said.

Sonoma County’s Walbridge fire grew to 14,000 acres Wednesday afternoon, up from the 1,500 acres reported Wednesday morning. Near the Sonoma Coast, the Meyers fire north of Jenner that measured 25 acres Wednesday morning had grown to 2,500 acres by 7 p.m., Cal Fire said.

6:30 PM: Evacuation-related school closures announced in Sonoma County

Four west Sonoma County school districts have canceled distanced learning through the end of the week, citing fire-related evacuations.

Online classes at the Guerneville School District, Monte Rio School District, Montgomery School District were postponed through Friday, the Sonoma County Office of Education said.

The Forestville Union School District planned to have students pick up supplies on Friday and start classes on Monday, Superintendent Renee Semik said.

6 PM: Additional evacuation warnings issued along the Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office issued an additional evacuation warning along the Sonoma Coast Wednesday afternoon.

The new warning included areas east of the Sonoma Coast to the south fork of the Gualala River and south of Kruse Ranch Road and Howser Bridge Road to Fort Ross Road. It was designated as zone 1C1 on the county’s evacuation map.

5:30 PM: No rolling blackouts on Wednesday night

The California Independent System Operator announced that it does not expect to trigger any rolling blackouts on Wednesday night to protect the state’s electrical power grid.

Conservation, imported energy and wind production were key factors in averting the blackouts. A Flex Alert remained in place until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

“Thanks to everyone for conserving power and & avoiding power outages. We don’t need outages on top of wildfires,” state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, tweeted Wednesday.

5:25 PM: Post Offices closed in west Sonoma County

Six U.S. Post Offices in western Sonoma County have been temporarily closed as a result of multiple wildfires burning in the region.

Customers serviced by the Guerneville, Cazadero, Duncans Mills, Monte Rio, Jenner and Villa Grande offices can pick up mail at the North Bay Processing Facility, 1150 N. McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Photo identification is required.

5:15 PM: Winds push Walbridge fire southeast toward Guerneville; 8,000 ordered to evacuate in Sonoma County

Winds were pushing the Walbridge fire southeast Tuesday afternoon, sending flames closer to Guerneville and other nearby communities along the the Russian River, incident spokesman and Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Fire Paul Lowenthal said Tuesday afternoon during a news conference.

Crews were focusing their efforts on areas along Sweetwater Springs, a rural road northeast of Guerneville and Rio Nido, as well as Mill Creek Road, work made more challenging by high temperatures, low humidity, windy weather and critically dry fuels in the area, Lowenthal said.

“Given the fire activity that we’re seeing, that’s visible from the valley floor … we do expect to see significant fire growth,” Lowenthal said of the Walbridge fire, which was estimated at 1,500 acres Wednesday morning.

Firefighters at the Meyers fire, located north of Jenner, were trying to keep the fire from moving south of Fort Ross Road, though the other sides of the blaze seemed to be staying put, Lowenthal said.

The number of people ordered to evacuate due to the Sonoma County blazes totaled an estimated 8,000 people as of Tuesday afternoon, Sonoma County’s director of Emergency Management Chris Godley said during the news conference.

Residents under an evacuation warning totaled about 7,700 people, Godley said.Those figures were based on census information, Godley added.

3:30 PM: Federal wild land areas in Lake and Napa counties closed due to wildfires

The Bureau of Land Management ordered the emergency closure of certain wild land areas in Lake and Napa counties Wednesday due to active wildfires in the region.

The closure apply to areas within and near the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument northwest of Lake Berryessa. They include the Knoxville Management Area, Berryessa Management Area, Cedar Roughs Wilderness, and scattered tracts within Napa, Solano, and Yolo counties, the bureau said in a statement.

The closure also applies to areas south of Highway 20, including parcels in Stebbins Cold Canyon, the Blue Ridge Trail, Buck Island Rafting Area, Cache Creek Ridge Trail, Cache Creek Wilderness, Cowboy Camp and the associated equestrian area, Frog Pond Trail, Highbridge Trailhead and Perkins Creek Ridge Trail.

The Cedar Roughs Wilderness, Knoxville Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, Hunting Creek Campground, North Staging Area and the bureau-managed Redbud and Judge Davis Trails are also closed.

The public is prohibited from entering those areas.

3 PM: California Attorney General warns against illegal price gouging

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned against illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food and other essential items during California’s state of emergency.

Becerra issued the consumer alert Tuesday afternoon following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration related to the numerous wildfires raging throughout the state, a news release from Becerra’s office said.

State law prohibits businesses to raise prices for certain goods during a state of emergency by more than 10% compared to the cost of the items before the declaration.

The law applies to businesses who sell food, emergency and medical supplies as well as building materials and gasoline, the news release said.

Violators can face up to a year in prison or jail, a fine of up to $10,000 and civil penalties. Both the Becerra and district attorneys throughout the state can enforce the price gouging law.

2:20 PM: Thousands in Napa County under evacuation orders

Napa County reported that 6,600 people, from 2,200 homes, were under mandatory evacuation orders. Another 3,900 people, from 1,300 homes, have received evacuation warnings.

Many of the most recent notices involved Highway 121, which runs from south of the city of Napa to within proximity of Lake Berryessa. Most of that highway was under mandatory evacuation Wednesday; a small portion just outside the Napa city limits was under warning.

Crosswalk Community Church, Napa County’s designated evacuation center, housed 40 people Tuesday night, the county said. Five of those evacuees slept in RVs in the parking lot.

2 PM: Spare the Air Alert extended

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District extended a Spare the Air Alert for the Bay Area through Sunday due to smoke from wildfires throughout the region.

The district initially issued the warning on Tuesday, prompting a ban on the burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or other solid fuel. People are asked to say indoors with windows and doors closed if they smell smoke and if temperatures allow.

Air quality in the North Bay was considered moderate on Wednesday, though was expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups beginning Thursday until Sunday, the district’s website said.

1:35 PM: Flames along Sweetwater Springs Road

Reporter Will Schmitt from the Walbridge fire. See him on Facebook Live here.

1:10 PM: Expanded evacuation warnings in northwestern Sonoma County

Cal Fire officials have issued new warnings advising a wider area of residents in northwestern Sonoma County to be prepared to evacuate. The warnings include the following areas:

Walbridge fire (Northern Forestville/ Zone 4B1)

All areas south of River Road from Martinelli Road to Trenton Road

West of Covey Road

North of Front Street / Hwy. 116

East of Martinelli Road

Walbridge fire (Zone 2K2)

All areas south of Highway 101

East of the Russian River to the Windsor Town limits

North of where Windsor River Road dead ends extending west to the Russian River.

Meyers fire (Zone 1E3)

All areas south of the Russian River

West of Bohemian Hwy.

North and East of Coleman valley Road and Willow Creek Road

Meyers fire (Zone 1E1)

All areas south and west of Willow Creek Road

North of Coleman Valley Road and Wright Hill Road

East of the California Coastal National Monument (Bureau of Land Management property)

12:30 PM: Lightning strikes caused 60 fires in Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, according to Cal Fire

At a press conference at the Napa County Fairgrounds Wednesday, Cal Fire revealed staggering numbers that help put the scope of the LNU Lightning Complex into context.

Cal Fire Unit Chief Shanna Jones said the lightning strikes of Sunday and Monday caused approximately 60 fires in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano and Yolo counties. As of Wednesday morning, she said, the blazes making up the LNU complex (at least seven individual fires have been identified and named) had burned more than 42,000 acres.

“The resources out on these fires now are same that have been out there 72 hours,” Jones said, highlighting how overextended firefighting crews are.

Chief Sean Kavanaugh of Cal Fire Incident Management Team 2, who is leading the defensive effort in the five counties, confirmed that 50 homes have been destroyed throughout the fire zone, and another 50 damaged. Kavanaugh anticipated those numbers climbing throughout the day.

Jeremy Rahn, Cal Fire’s lead public information officer for the LNU complex, added statewide numbers, statistics that help to explain why crews here have been able to contain so little of the devastation in the North Bay. Those numbers include:

* 10,849 lightning strikes across the state

* 367 new fires over three days

* 6,900 fire personnel from state and local agencies making up the effort

Kavanaugh said California has requested 375 engines from out-of-state agencies, as well as hand crews.

Cal Fire has established a public hotline for seeking information on the LNU Lightning Complex: 707-967-4207.

12:10 PM: Gov. Newsom addresses the wildfires burning across California, COVID-19

Watch live:

11:45 AM: Need for volunteers

The Petaluma People Services Center is seeking volunteers to help with expected fire evacuee needs.

Fill out this form to apply: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14_XI6BAY6btQNmoHz_GOYdavDinu1OGj-JpvkDBxLCE/edit

11: 30 AM: ’Extreme scarcity of resources’

Sonoma County firefighters are bracing to battle the growing Walbridge fire with little help from outside agencies because of the number of wildfires across Northern California, including the large Hennessy fire in Napa County, officials said Wednesday morning.

“We are seeing an extreme scarcity of resources,” Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said.

Cal Fire has dedicated one helicopter and one air tanker to the fight against the 1500-acre fire burning in heavily forested terrain north of Guerneville that had reached the far northern edge of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve by morning, officials said. Godley said the county doesn’t expect to receive more mutual aid today because of larger fires impacting more populated areas elsewhere, said Chris Godley, the county’s emergency services director.

“One of our major concerns at this point is the ability to bring additional firefighting resources to bear given the nature and number and scope of the fires that are burning elsewhere in this state especially Northern California,” Godley said.

11:20 AM: Evacuation centers in Sonoma County

There are several locations where evacuees can seek safety.

https://socoemergency.org/emergency/evacuation-centers

11:15 AM: New Covelo evacuation order for Creek fire in Mendocino County

Northern boundary Short Creek Road and the intersection of Highway 162 east to the Eel River

East of Short Creek Road to East Lane

East Lane to Hill Road

East of Hill Road to Mill Creek

Mill Creek to the Eel River

West of the Eel River to the northern county boundary

11:10 AM: More evacuations in Napa County

Cal Fire ordered additional evacuations Wednesday morning as the fire evolves.

Now under order to leave are residents along Highway 121/ Monticello Road from Wooden Valley Road to Vichy Avenue.

Now under warnings to be ready to leave are:

Highway 121/Monticello Road from Vichy Avenue to Silverado Trail

Ink Grade from Pope Valley Road to White Cottage Road

Howell Mountain Road from Pope Valley to White Cottage

11 AM: Cal Fire gives update on wildfire

Watch a press conference on the wildfires:

8/19 11am CalFire press conference.

8/19 11am CalFire press conference.

Posted by Sonoma Sheriff on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

10:30 AM: Guerneville emptied by evacuation orders; Armstrong Woods closed

The streets of Guerneville were largely empty Wednesday morning as most residents in the tourism-heavy town of about 5,000 on the Russian River seem to have heeded evacuation orders.

Skies were clear to the west, but smoke from the uncontained 1,500-acre Walbridge fire billowed in the air to the east.

On Main Street, longtime Guerneville resident Wendell Joost walked with his 13-month-old Newfoundland, Jupiter. He said he did not plan to evacuate anytime soon.

“I’ll leave when the door burns off,” Joost said.

To the north, Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve, the grove of old growth redwoods that is a popular summertime destination, was closed. The forest and adjoining Austin Creek State Recreation Area are on the southern end of the mandatory evacuation zone.

10:15 AM: More evacuation orders in Napa County as fire moves

Cal Fire has ordered additional evacuations in Napa County Wednesday morning. Orders require people to leave immediately.

Areas affected:

Highway 121/Monticello Road from Wooden Valley Road to Silverado Trail

Pope Valley Road from Aetna Springs Road to Chiles Pope Valley Road

Aetna Springs Road from Pope Valley to the dead end

Butts Canyon Road from Aetna Springs to the Lake County line

James Creek Road from Butts Canyon to the dead end.

Meanwhile, Napa County residents received a worrisome alert from the county’s office of emergency services during the night.

It noted that the Hennessey fire was moving toward Atlas Peak, Soda Canyon, the Silverado Highlands and the homes around Silverado Country Club – areas more populated than those hit thus far by the Lightning Complex group of fires.

Also, the Lightning fires had created a new danger as they spread swiftly to the southeast, toward Vacaville and Interstate 80 in Solano County. Evacuations were ordered in several neighborhoods of northwest Vacaville.

Cal Fire will hold a press conference to offer updates on the lightning complex, at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga at 11 a.m.

9:30 AM: Expanded evacuation warnings in Sonoma County

Additional evacuation warnings have been issued in Sonoma County by Cal Fire Wednesday morning.

Warnings mean there is a potential threat to life or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now.

Areas affected

Meyers fire - County evacuation zone 1F1

• All areas east of Bohemian Highway

• North of Graton Road and Harrison Grade Road

• West of Harrison Grade Road, Green Valley Road, and Highway 116

• South of the Russian River

Meyers Fire - County evacuation zone 1F2

• All areas south of the Russian River

• East and north of Highway 116 (Pocket Canyon)

• West of Martinelli Road

Walbridge Fire - County evacuation zone 4A1

• All areas east of the Russian River

• North of River Road

• West of Trenton Healdsburg Road and Eastside Road

• South of the area between the western dead end of Windsor River Road and the Russian River

The public is reminded to stay updated on current fire conditions, to adhere to road closures and evacuation warnings. Motorists are asked to drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel.

9:10 AM: Empty streets, smoky skies in Guerneville

Will Schmitt reports from Guerneville, one of the Sonoma County communities evacuated due to the Walbridge fire. See him on Facebook Live here.

8:30 AM: Fires continue to rage, four injuries reported

Fires in Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino counties continued to burn largely out of control Wednesday morning with more than 48,000 acres of wildland afffected in the Sonoma-Napa group of lightning-sparked blazes.

Cal Fire reported four civilian injuries early Wednesday, but no further details were available.

The largest of several groups of fires, the Lightning complex, which includes the Hennessey fire in Napa County and Walbridge (formerly 13-4) and Meyers (formerly 11-16) fires in Sonoma County, totaled 46,225 acres burned with zero containment.

See the latest evacuations and incidents in Sonoma County here.

Fifty structures have been destroyed and 1,900 structures remained threatened. Another 50 structures have been damaged.

The Walbridge fire west of Healdsburg and north of Guerneville was estimated at 1,500 acres. North of Jenner, the Meyers fire was listed at 25 acres.

The town of Windsor alerted residents Wednesday morning that although the fire may be visible today from Windsor and appear threatening, it is not expected to reach Windsor at this time.

In Napa County, the Hennessey fire remained at 12,500 acres , the Gamble fire at 13,000 acres, the Green fire at 8,000, Spanish Flat 4,000, Markley 5,000 and Morgan 2,200 acres.

In Mendocino County, the Creek fire near Covelo had burned 1,000 acres and had 20% containment, while the 3-19 fire in Potter Valley was 62 acres and 40 percent contained.

In Marin County, the Woordard fire near Point Reyes had burned 800 acres and was uncontained.

In Sonoma County, mandatory evacuation orders were in effect in these areas:

• North of Austin Creek Recreational Area

• East of The Cedars

• Mill Creek Road west of the intersection of Puccioni Road

• South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road

• South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road

• West of West Dry Creek Road and Westside Road

• North of Sweetwater Springs Road and McCray Ridge Road

• East of the East Austin Creek (the actual creek)

Evacuation warning, to be ready to leave, were in effect here:

• West of Meyers Grade Road to the coast

• South of Fort Ross Road

• North of Russian Gulch State Beach

• North of Austin Cree Recreational Area

• East of Cedars

• West of Mill Creek Road

• South of Stewarts Point-Skaggs Spring Road

In Napa County, orders to evacuate were active for:

• Highway 128 from Lower Chiles Valley Road to Monticello Road

• Highway 128 from Chiles Pope Valley Road to Lower Chiles Valley Road

• Chiles Pope Valley Road from Highway 128 to Lower Chiles Valley Road

• All of Hennessey Ridge Road

• From Moskowite Corner to Wooden Valley Road, Including the community of Circle Oaks

• Atlas Peak from the Bubbing Well Pet Cemetery at 2462 Atlas Peak Road to the dead end

• From Loma Vista Road / Soda Canyon Road to the dead end

• All of Steele Canyon Road from Highway 128 to and including the Berryessa Highlands Subdivison

• Wragg Canyon Rd - from Highway 128 to the end of the road, including Pleasure Cove Resort

• Chiles Pope Valley Road - From Lower Chiles Valley Road to Pope Canyon Road

Evacuation centers were open at the Crosswalk Community Church, 2590 First Street in Napa, and animals were being taken in at the Napa County Animal Shelter, 942 Hartle Court.

In Sonoma County, temporary evacuation points include:

•Veterans Memorial Beach in Healdsburg

•Westside Park, 2400 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay

• Ragle Ranch, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol

•Schopflin Fields, 4351 Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa

• A Place to Play, 2375 West 3rd Street, Santa Rosa

• Spring Lake Regional Park, 5585 Newanga Ave., Santa Rosa

• Animals may be taken to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa

For road closures, see:

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Walbridge fire is burning in west Sonoma County. An earlier version of this story spelled the name incorrectly.

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