Quantcast

Sonoma County Wildfire Spreads 7,000 Acres in Less Than Five Hours

Climate
The Kincade fire burns near a vineyard in California's Sonoma County. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A fast-spreading wildfire erupted in California's Sonoma County Wednesday night, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It had grown to 7,000 acres as of 2:12 a.m. Thursday, according to the Sonoma Lake Napa Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).


The blaze prompted evacuation orders for Red Winery Road, Alexander Mountain Road, Highway 128 from Geysers Road to River Road including River Rock Casino and all roads off of River Road. As of Wednesday evening, around 276 people were under a mandatory evacuation order, and around 1,700 people were under an evacuation warning, The Press Democrat reported.

"The fire is moving at a dangerous rate," Geyserville Fire Protection District Capt. Joe Stewart said in a Facebook video reported by the Los Angeles Times. "If you are woken by emergency alerts, please heed those warnings and evacuate."

The so-called Kincade Fire ignited at around 9:30 p.m. near Burned Mountain and Kincade roads, The Mercury News reported. By 12:45 a.m. Thursday, it had spread to 400 acres. As of 2:12 a.m., it was still zero percent contained, according to CAL FIRE.

Vineyard manager David Huebel, 40, saw the flames at around 9:35 p.m. when looking towards the Mayacamas Mountains.

"I was asking myself, 'Is that fire?'" Huebel told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Everything about the scene was wrong. There shouldn't have been light right there, it shouldn't have been orange. It was a couple minutes later I saw a column of smoke. We watched it grow for more than two hours before we left."

The fire broke out a little more than six hours after utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) shut off power to around 27,830 customers in Sonoma County as part of an attempt to prevent its power lines from starting fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Kincade Fire is burning "near the (shut-off) footprint and we are working to gather additional information," PG&E spokeswoman Karly Hernandez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

All told, the utility shut off power to 178,000 customers in 15 counties Wednesday after the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red-flag warning for the windy, dry conditions that increase fire risk. This is the second time this month that PG&E has preemptively shut off power because of red-flag conditions.

Those conditions were also expected to make the fire harder to fight. The NWS recorded a gust of 76 miles per hour near the blaze, The Press Democrat reported, and fire crews could not attack the fire from the air because of turbulence.

"This fire is burning fast," California State Sen. Mike McGuire said. "It's dangerous, and winds are not our friends at this moment."

The fire was visible from Santa Rosa, where several destructive fires caused havoc two years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out. The October 2017 fires killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While several factors contribute to wildfires, including forest management and increased development, the climate crisis is making the fire season longer in the Western U.S. and making the fires themselves larger.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less
At least seven people have died in a Bangladesh pipeline explosion. Youtube screenshot

At least seven people were killed when a gas pipeline exploded in Bangladesh Sunday, and another 25 were injured, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less