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Friday updates: Glass fire grows to 61,150 acres with 8% containment

8 PM: Glass fire consumes more than 1,000 acres Friday

The Glass fire consumed more than 1,000 acres over the course of the day Friday, growing to 61,150 acres by sundown, Cal Fire said.

Containment on the blaze also increased, up to 8% by 7 p.m. compared to 6% Friday morning, Cal Fire said.

The tally of homes destroyed on the Sonoma County side of the blaze nearly doubled by Friday afternoon, reaching 120 losses compared to the 67 reported earlier in the day.

The number of homes destroyed in Napa County grew by 20 Friday to 173 as of 7 p.m., Cal Fire said.

6:25 PM: Smoky conditions likely to persist into next week

North Bay residents can expect the wildfire smoke currently choking the sky to stick around through at least the weekend, according to the National Weather Service Office in Monterey.

While winds blowing from the northwest have started to clear some haze along the coast, meteorologist Brayden Murdock said that wind flow likely won’t be enough to flush out the air in inland areas.

“It’s not like were going to flip the switch and all of the sudden be better,” he said.

Smoke from the Glass fire is mixing with haze traveling down from the massive August and North complex fires burning in Northern California, leading to ongoing dismal air quality across the North Bay.

Air quality reached “unealthy” to “very unhealthy” levels today across the North Bay, according to AirNow.

A Spare the Air alert is currently in effect for most of the Bay Area through Tuesday, meaning unhealthy air conditions are expected to persist until next week.

“Maybe into next week we’ll start to see a shift in winds, but it’s not looking like a complete relief any time yet,” Murdock said.

4:20 PM: Local assistance center for fire survivors to open Monday

A local assistance center is scheduled to open to Sonoma County residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the Glass fire starting Monday, Oct. 5, at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa’s Rincon Valley neighborhood.

The joint city and county center will open its doors on Monday from 1-7 p.m. Hours will then be expanded the rest of the week, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

The assistance center will offer services from both entities, as well as the state, to help fire survivors begin their recovery process. If more than one week is necessary to fill the needs, more days will be added, according to officials.

“It’s supposed to be one-stop shop, and what staff is doing is preparing the re-entry packets, for lack of a better term, to get people all that they need,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm. “If during the first week we realize we underestimated the number of people who need to use these resources, we will keep it up as long as people need it.”

So far confirmed at the center are the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Health, each offering access to replacement vital records. In addition, the city and county will have staff available with their permit departments, and multiple nonprofits will be in attendance to answer questions and offer additional services. A representative from the County Assessor’s Office is also expected to be on hand.

3:50 PM: Some roads remain closed as Santa Rosa evacuation orders downgraded

As authorities downgrade evacuation orders to warnings for some parts of east Santa Rosa, the following roads will remain closed, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

The roads include:

-Los Alamos Road, north of Scotland Drive

-Los Alamos Road, south of Arrigoni Court

-Scotland Drive at Brigadoon Way

-Mountain Hawk Drive at Brigadoon Way

-Nighthawk Drive at Mountain Hawk Drive

-Highway 12, east of Los Alamos Road

-Highway 12, west of Pythian Road

-Feather Light at San Ramon Way

-Mountain Hawk Drive at San Ramon Way

-Melita Road, east of Los Alamos Road

-Sunhawk Drive, east of Mystic Point Place

-Channel Drive, east of Violette

All other roads in the burn area remain closed.

3:40 PM: Evacuation orders downgraded to warnings for parts of east Santa Rosa

Authorities have downgraded evacuation orders to warnings for some areas in east Santa Rosa within the city limits, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

The orders are being downgraded to warnings outside of the burn area for the following evacuation zones: Calistoga – North, Calistoga – South / Skyhawk, Melita and Pythian.

All burned areas within these zones remain under an evacuation order.

An estimated 9,815 residents in the Santa Rosa city limits are still under mandatory evacuation orders, according to a city spokesperson. That’s down from 12,925 as of earlier Friday afternoon.

Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm on Friday urged patience among residents who are still under mandatory evacuation. He requested courtesy from those who have voiced anger at members of law enforcement who are patrolling intersections that lead into still-closed areas.

“We’re not doing this for practice. We’re doing this because it’s absolutely the safest thing to do,” Schwedhelm said. “If we could open it up, I would open it up in a heartbeat. In Oakmont, I know everyone wants to be home, but there’s infrastructure damage. I get the frustration, but … it’s all about safety.”

View a map of evacuation zones here.

3:20 PM: Evacuation orders downgraded for parts of Sonoma County

Authorities have downgraded evacuation orders to warnings for parts of Sonoma County south of Trione-Annadel State Park, as well as some areas west of Calistoga Road, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

The orders have been downgraded for all areas south of Trione-Annadel State Park, east and south of Santa Rosa city limits, north of Bennett Valley Road, and west of Savannah Trail.

Areas west of Wallace Road, west of the intersection of Porter Creek Road at Franz Valley Road (Safari West), east of Mark West Springs Road, and south of Porter Creek Road to the Santa Rosa city limits are also now under evacuation warnings.

Foothill Ranch Road east of the intersection of Foothill Ranch Road at Wallace Road, as well as Rolling Oaks Road and Grand Oaks Road, will remain under an evacuation order.

View a map of current evacuation areas here.

2:00 PM: Castello di Amorosa winery damaged in Glass fire, $6 million worth of wine lost

One of the early victims of the Glass fire was the Farmhouse, a modest title for an impressive stone building that makes up part of Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui’s winery and life-long passion project in the hills south of Calistoga.

Sunday, the fire jumped Highway 29 after originating on the eastern edge of Napa Valley, tracked up a gully below the Castello and caught one corner of the Farmhouse. That was all it took to ignite a blaze that, according to Sattui, claimed about 120,000 bottles of wine with a retail value of $6 million, in addition to the winery’s bottling line, offices, lab and tanks containing a portion of the current vintage.

Castello di Amorosa winery damaged by the Glass fire.
Castello di Amorosa winery damaged by the Glass fire.

“I’m pretty melancholy,” Sattui said Friday, standing outside the charred building. “It’s like a bad dream, and I’m hoping I’ll wake up and it didn’t really happen. I put my heart and soul into this place. For this to happen, it’s horrible. I never, never, ever imagined this could happen.”

This latest calamity comes after Napa wineries spent three months closed by the coronavirus. It has been especially hard on Castello di Amorosa, which sells 100% of its product directly from the winery. Sattui isn’t frozen in his grief, though. Noting that the main “castle” is undamaged, he plans to reopen as early as next week.

1:25 PM: Over 40,000 Sonoma County residents still under evacuation orders or warnings

A total of 41,827 Sonoma County residents remain under evacuation orders or warnings on Friday morning, according to numbers from the Sonoma County Sheriff and the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Of the 19,023 people under evacuation orders, 12,925 live at Santa Rosa addresses. The remaining 6,098 people live in unincorporated Sonoma County.

On the second day of a red flag warning that officials say could force additional evacuations, the timeline for those thousands of already-evacuated people to be allowed to return to their homes remains unclear.

"Obviously, that's a good question, but it's difficult to answer," said Billy See, Cal Fire incident commander. "Especially with the predicted winds."

Before evacuation areas are downgraded from an order to a warning, fire officials have to check every bit of it for potential hotspots or flare-ups. Shana Jones, unit chief with the Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, said that damage inspection teams had combed 30% of the land impacted by the fire by Friday morning.

The count of destroyed structures across both counties stands at 558, with another 108 structures damaged.

Utilities companies such as Pacific Gas and Electric deal with downed power lines or gas leaks. By the time a law enforcement agency changes the status of the evacuation area, multiple agencies, including the local Emergency Operations Center, will have had to make sure the area is safe for people to return to.

"It is a large fire," Jones said. "We're doing as fast as we can to get that damage inspection information out so you can find out what the status of your home is, in addition to putting the fire out and getting you home as quickly as possible."

View a map of current evacuation zones here.

1:15 PM: Firefighters able to maintain fire lines in Sonoma County, Napa County a challenge

With winds forecast for Thursday night lighter than expected, firefighters have had success forging fire lines to protect some Sonoma County communities from the still-spreading Glass fire, fire officials said in a morning news briefing.

A fire break in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park north of the communities Kenwood and Glen Ellen is holding, Cal Fire Chief Mark Brunton said. On Thursday, Brunton said he had “about a 50-50% confidence” the line would remain through the night.

“That line is in there — the line is holding, due to the winds not being as intense as we had expected originally,” he said at the morning briefing on Friday.

Along Highway 12 and into east Santa Rosa crews are continuing to mop up burn areas and extinguish hot spots. Firefighters also have had “a lot of success” holding lines along Calistoga Road up to the county line, Brunton said.

In Napa County, the firefight has been more of challenge. Flames have reached the outskirts of Calistoga, and one structure was damaged but not destroyed, Brunton said.

“Due to the topography and so forth it’s been very difficult for us to place good direct control lines in there,” he said. “So we’ve had to go structure by structure prepping those structures and preparing and extinguishing fires as we can in that area.”

Crews are also actively working to shield the community Angwin from flames, and clear skies there have allowed helicopters to drop retardant in the area.

In addition, firefighters are working “diligently” to establish control lines above the community of Oakville. And in the Palisades mountain range above above Calistoga, crews have kept growing flames from crossing Highway 29, Brunton said.

He added crews have been sent to the Highway 29 corridor along the Napa Valley floor at the southeastern front of the blaze in anticipation of wind gusts from the north casting embers onto dry vegetation.

“Our fuels are extremely receptive to any ignition source whatsoever,” he said.

11:40 AM: County adopts local emergency; establishes $2.5 million in funds toward immediate disaster response

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Friday set aside about $2.5 million for immediate response costs to the Glass fire while formally approving the county’s emergency declaration initiated by its emergency services director on Monday.

The emergency declaration makes the county eligible for state emergency funds if they are made available, and also permits mutual aid support from the state and other regional partners.

The county also submitted to the state a preliminary damage estimate of public assets from the Glass fire, at $18.2 million. The largest figure included in the assessment is more than $8 million of impacts to facilities in the Los Guilicos area on the outskirts of Santa Rosa. Another $6 million is tied to damages to roads, trees and other county infrastructure and roughly $2.3 million in immediate response costs.

11:00 AM: Rain a possibility next week, could tamp down fire season

A hurricane currently located southwest of Baja Mexico could wind up sending rain to the Bay Area late next week, the National Weather Service said Friday, citing a 15% to 20% chance for “measurable rain” on Oct. 9 and 10.

Some estimates are indicating “impressive rainfall” amounting to a half-inch to an inch as a spinoff from a weakening Hurricane Marie.

Any forecast a week ahead is subject to change, the service said, “but confidence is increasing for at least some wet weather late next week.”

Cal Fire has said more than an inch of rain is needed to end the fire season.

Weather blogger Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist, is also tracking the hurricane, tweeting that as it decays it “could bring rain, and possibly thunderstorms, to Northern California about eight days from now.”

Swain added it’s possible the storm instead could bring dry lightning that could ignite new starts.

A red flag warning remains in effect through 6 a.m. Saturday in the North Bay mountains and Glass fire burn area, meaning fire risk is heightened by hot, dry, windy conditions.

8:15 AM: Focus today will be protecting Sugarloaf, Kenwood and Angwin

Cal Fire will hold a detailed briefing on its fire strategy at 11 a.m. Friday, which will be broadcast live on its Facebook page.

Winds predicted overnight that worried firefighters about the Glass fire’s northern edge in Napa County and southern perimeter near Glen Ellen and Kenwood didn’t materialize, allowing a little more containment and little overall fire growth into Friday morning.

Sonoma County fire Chief Mark Heine said there was minimal fire growth on the Sonoma County side of the fire, a bit more on the Napa County side.

The fire grew by 1,348 acres from Thursday night’s 58,800 to 60,148 acres Friday.

Firefighters locked up a little more perimeter, increasing the containment to 6% up from 5 % Thursday night.

Cal Fire said it was “a very active night for firefighters” with temperatures above average even at the higher elevations and low humidity.

But worrisome winds predicted didn’t cause major problems or push any areas further out of control.

Focus areas Friday will include the Angwin area in Napa County and in Sonoma County hills, especially around Sugarloaf Park, he said. Firefighters will work to secure fire lines being cut to reduce the threat of further spread in the southern edge of the fire.

No additional structures in Sonoma County were destroyed beyond the 67 already known. Napa County had tallied 153 structures destroyed, the same as Thursday.

Heine said winds could still whip up Friday afternoon, so crews will keep cutting bulldozer and hand lines to protect the Sonoma Valley area.

Crews were clearing downed or hazardous trees along the Highway 12 corridor, predicting that the highway would remain closed for a few more days.

Multiple power lines and poles were destroyed in that area as well and PG&E crews were at work replacing that infrastructure.

Downed trees and other vegetation made the firefight challenging, the agency said, and threatened the fire line. Dry fuels continue to be a threat as well.

More than 2,517 personnel are fighting the blaze, which started Sunday morning in Napa County and ate its way westward with the aid of swift winds.

7:30 AM: Containment on Glass fire increases to 6%

Firefighters locked up a little more perimeter around the Glass fire overnight, increasing the containment to 6 % as of Friday morning, Cal Fire said.

The fire was listed at 60,148 acres, an increase of 1,348 acres from last night’s 58,800. Containment was 5 % Thursday night.

Cal Fire said it was “a very active night for firefighters” with temperatures above average even at the higher elevations and low humidity.

But worrisome winds predicted didn’t cause major problems or push any areas further out of control, according to Cal Fire.

No additional structures in Sonoma County were destroyed beyond the 67 already known. Napa County had tallied 153 structures destroyed, the same as Thursday.

Downed trees and other vegetation made the firefight challenging, the agency said, and threatened the fire line. Dry fuels continue to be a threat as well.

More than 2,517 personnel are fighting the blaze, which started Sunday morning in Napa County and ate its way westward with the aid of swift winds.

Aircraft will again drop water and retardant from above as conditions allow on Friday.

Cal Fire will hold a detailed briefing on its fire strategy at 11 a.m. Friday, which will be broadcast live on its Facebook page.

A red flag warning remains in effect through 6 a.m. Saturday in the North Bay Mountains, meaning the fire risk is heightened because of hot, dry, windy conditions.

Northwest winds of 10-20 mph with gusts of up to 30 mph at the higher elevations are expected.

The weather service predicts smoke will be pushed toward Sonoma this afternoon with winds coming from the northwest.

Air quality again will be poor, remaining in the unhealthy range through at least Sunday, according to the AirNow EPA models.

Mayor Tom Schwedhelm said Friday morning a local assistance center would be open soon, likely at Maria Carrillo High School, to help fire survivors with recovery efforts.

Details on that should come later Friday.

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