Glass Fire Update: Homes Burn In Angwin, New Evacuations Ordered, Fire On Calistoga Outskirts

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — The Glass Fire burning in Napa and Sonoma counties jumped containment lines and led to new evacuations as well as additional burned homes and structures as firefighter worked through extreme conditions Thursday.

As of Thursday evening, the Glass Fire has burned 58,880 acres since it started over the weekend and was five percent contained, according to Cal Fire. At least 616 structures have been destroyed, including 220 homes, while nearly 29,000 structures are threatened.

Cal Fire officials said that they expect the number of confirmed damaged and destroyed structures to rise when they next update statistics on the Glass Fire.

One bit of good news that fire officials shared early Thursday evening was that the area of containment that had been established for the Glass Fire covered the backside of Rincon Valley and Skyhawk, with crews making excellent headway in the low country on the eastern side of Santa Rosa.

The fire advanced into areas of Angwin Thursday, burning multiple home homes on Bell Canyon Road and Quail Run Road on the eastern flank of the wildfire, prompting some rescue efforts to evacuate trapped residents, Cal Fire reported.

New mandatory evacuations were ordered in Napa County Thursday afternoon for:

  • All areas of Napa County north of the Calistoga City limits between Highway 128, the Sonoma County line, and Highway 29.
  • All addresses on both sides of Highway 29 between the Calistoga City limits and the Lake County line
  • All addresses on Old Lawley Toll Road
  • Areas west of Oakville, specifically the area south of South Whitehall Lane and north of Bella Oaks Lane, west to the Sonoma County line including the 500 Block and greater of Wall Road.

Evacuation warning were issued for:

  • The area south of Bella Oaks Lane west to the Sonoma County Line and north of Oakville Grade/Dry Creek Road; West of Highway 29, up to the 500 block of Wall Road
  • The valley floor, west of Highway 29 between Whitehall Lane and Oakville Grade, including all addresses on Bella Oaks Lane, Manley Lane, Beerstecher Road, and Niebaum Lane

Evacuation centers are open at Crosswalk Community Church, 2590 First Street in Napa and Napa Valley College at 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway in Napa.

Days ago, Angwin resident Roger Lutz’s sister lost her home in Deer Park.

“The one really special part of that was the American flag was still flying. It was like, Well overcome. I’m sorry,” said Lutz, apologizing as he choked up with emotion.

Residents who stayed in the area despite evacuation orders are emotionally and physically drained.

The Glass Fire shifted direction Thursday, bringing Lutz’s property to the north closer to the raging inferno.

“I could see the flames right there, only a block away on the other side of the hill,” said said Soon Young Park, another Angwin resident.

Park came back Thursday to help her landlord and friend. They were doing what they could to protect their homes from the fire.

“Last night, I didn’t even sleep a minute. Just watching and cleaning and moving all the stuff away from the houses,” said Angwin resident Younan Dawood.

They got some help from Lutz, who lives down the street. He is a veteran in more ways than one.

“I’ve been in a lot of fire fights, but all the other fire fights before this were with bullets,” explained Lutz.

He helped his neighbors set up a sprinkler system that would keep the property near the houses wet if the fire got closer.

“It’s not worth my life. But on the other hand. if I can do whatever I can do to save the houses, I’ll do that,” said Lutz.

I’m hoping that winds will not shift tonight. I will not sleep,” said Dawood.

FIRE EVACUATION MAPS: Sonoma County | Napa County

On the northern edge of the fire, crews were working to save the town of Calistoga where all residents are under mandatory evacuation orders. Just north of the town, the fire briefly surrounded firefighters at Old Lawley Toll Road prompting a shutdown of Hwy 29.

“We have fire that is creating a threat to Calistoga,” said Cal Fire Operations Chief Mark Bruton Thursday. “It has not reached the city limits yet, still on the outskirts of the city limits, it is a concern for us.”

Firefighting aircraft make retardant drops on the Glass Fire in Napa County, seen from along CA-29 on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 in Calistoga, CA. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

High temperatures and extreme conditions were forecast Thursday and in the days ahead. Gusty, hot breezes were poised Thursday to push the fire, already weaving a destructive path through wine country, on a wind-driven march toward Pope Valley in an area not touched by a wildfire on at least 70 years, Cal Fire officials warned.

“It’s going to be a big firefight for us for the next 36 hours,” said Bruton.

Bruton said fire officials are concerned with the wind change that the fire will begin advancing southward toward the Oakville Grade. A spot fire was reported in the area earlier Thursday that burned approximately five acres before responding crews were able to contain it.

The National Weather Service said a Red Flag Warning would be in effect from 1 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday, with increased fire risk in the North Bay Mountains and the Santa Lucia Mountains. A Heat Advisory was also in effect for the region from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

The extreme conditions would add to the challenges facing firefighters Thursday, who are working in extremely difficult terrain.

“In this area where the first is in it’s a mixture of grass, brush and conifer timber — all of it is critically dry,” said Cal Fire Fire Behavior Analyst Brian Newman. “With the excessively dry winter we had mixed with the long summer we’ve had — a lot of heat and no [precipitation] over the last five months has led to critically dry conditions in the fuel moisture for burning. There’s really no [natural] barrier to burning.”

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Newman added that unlike other areas of wine country burned in the recent LNU Lightning complex and the October 2017 Tubbs, Nun and Abode fires, this region has never had a major blaze.

“The area where the fire is burning has no fire history over the last 70 years,” said Newman. “It’s led to an excessive build-up of fuel — heavy, dense brush.”

“Warm, dry, unstable conditions coupled with strong winds — the fire will have more energy behind it,” said Cal Fire meteorologist Tom Bird.  “The winds will shift later this morning and begin driving across steep, rugged terrain toward the Pope Valley on the north edge of the fire … if they can’t get air support in there, it’s going to be tough to stop.”

Air resources and ground crews attacked the fire just north of Calistoga all day Wednesday, trying to knock out most of it before the wind came in. Air tankers made drop after drop as the fire raced up the hillside just off Highway 29.

Evacuation Order Information:

Along with increased fire risk, smoke from the Glass Fire has caused poor air quality throughout the region. The National Weather Service said smoke will continue to be a problem around the region on Thursday, not just from the Glass Fire, but from other fires north of the Bay Area.

Overnight sensors indicated poor air quality and reduced visibility to a few miles, and deteriorating fire weather conditions will likely result in more smoke production, the weather service said.

PHOTOS: Raging Glass Fire Leaves Path Of Destruction Through Wine Country

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