Kincade Fire: CAL FIRE says Sonoma County wildfire is now 75,415 acres, 15 percent contained – KGO-TV
SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — The Kincade Fire that’s burning in Sonoma County increased in size overnight to more than 76,138 acres, but fire crews have kept pace containing the flames.
The fire has destroyed 189 buildings, including 86 homes. Of the 39 structures damaged, officials say 20 are homes.
The fire started last week and remains at 15 percent contained, which is the same percentage as Monday night, when the fire was smaller.
About 156,000 people remain under evacuation orders after about 30,000 people who had been evacuated were allowed home Monday.
About 90,000 structures are threatened, most of them are homes.
SMOKE TRACKER:Check current Bay Area air quality levels
A Red Flag Warning is now in effect and will continue until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Winds have picked up through the morning, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph on Mount St. Helena. The winds have not reached the lower elevations yet, but the forecast is on track for a challenging afternoon and evening of strong dry offshore wind.
Firefighters are hopeful that winds will ease off after midnight. After the wind event, the weather will improve for the next five to seven days, but no rain is in the forecast any time soon.
Officials said they will most likely have to pause re-population of the evacuation zones due to the weather.
Spot fires are burning in northeast Sonoma County Tuesday night, with new reports of flare-ups on Chalk Hill Rd, near Foothill Regional Park in Windsor.
When the forecast came in for another dangerous wind event overnight, CALFIRE staffed up. Firefighters have set up camp at the Sonoma County fairgrounds and are surgically moving throughout Sonoma County to prevent an even bigger disaster.
“It may sound like overkill, but we would rather err on the safe side,” said Assistant Santa Rose Fire Marshal, Paul Lowenthal, who lost his own home in the 2017 Tubbs fire. “We’re hopeful that the residents wake up in the morning and nothing happened, but we want to be here and be prepared in the event that something occurs.”
Two firefighters have been injured. One of the firefighters was flown to a hospital and is stable.
To see if your address is evacuated, use the online, up-to-date evacuation map for Sonoma County availablehere. If you have any questions, officials urge you call 211.
FIERCE FIREFIGHT EXPECTED AS SOME EVACUEES RETURN HOME
The Villagomez family is ready to leave if necessary. They live in Windsor, which is still under an evacuation order – but they ignored it.
Adam Villagomez said, “Our son is autistic so he’s more comfortable staying home and we have a pet that is difficult– so it’s better we’re at home.”
They know this could be another dangerous night for flare ups. The wind is expected to pick up and blow the flames north east.
Still, residents were allowed to return home in parts of western Sonoma County at their own risk.
Forestville resident Igor Rozov said, “It is open. I was evacuated for a couple days then they say lifted. I gotta go back home.”
But re-population could come at a possible price.
CAL FIRE’s Fred Woods said, “It’s certainly a concern we don’t want people getting in the way when we have to focus on evacuations and rescues versus fighting the fire.”
The Sonoma County Sheriff also worries about risks associated with returning home.
Mark Essick said, “We want to caution to be vigilant because of the high winds we have branches down so please be aware of those hazards.”
There have been three reports of looting but no arrests have been made.
This is just one reason the Scotts couldn’t wait to get home tonight.
Sonoma County resident Heidi Scott said, “It was really hard, a lot of anxiety and unknowns so we’re happy to be home with our family.”
DRY CONDITIONS CHALLENGE THE FIREFIGHT
The blue and relatively clear skies near Healdsburg revealed what the Kincade fire has left in its destructive wake.
Alexander Valley Valley is dotted with properties where the loss is extensive. For instance, along Chalk Hill Road, an equipment yard is totally gone, but the house that stands next to it appears completely fine.
The winners and losers here it seems are determined by which way the embers blow.
“We’re at the time of year when we haven’t seen any moisture in our fuel beds for an extended period of time,” said Captain Adam Mitchell, with CalFire. “The fuels are critically dry. They are receptive to new fires as well as fire spread.”
Along Highway 128 in Calistoga, the owners of the Oak Ridge Angus Ranch worked to corral their huge animals, the only survivors of the flames that destroyed nearly everything around them.
“The good news is, after we get through this wind event, things do look favorable for the next 5-7 days where we’ll get into a more tranquil weather pattern,” said Ryan Walburn, National Weather Service Meteorologist. “No rain in the forecast but also no more offshore wind events.”
EVACUATED FARMWORKERS STRANDED
Approximately 300 vineyard workers reaping the devastating outcome of the Kincade fire. For at least four days, many of them have been feeling stuck in Cloverdale where they evacuated.
They have no food, gas, or power where they are at Citrus Fairgrounds.
“Un burrito eso vamos ha almorzar ahorita” (A burrito is our lunch), said vineyard worker, Gregorio Alvarez.
A chicken burrito is his first and only meal of the day.
The only help up here is coming from locals who took what they had in their fridge and cooked it up for everyone.
Non- profits like Lion Club, Kiwanis International, and California Human Development heard about the need here, and also came to help.
FAMILY OF 9 FORCED FROM HOMES INTO 1 RV
A family of nine is confined to living in one small RV while they wait to hear if their home survived the Kincade Fire.
17-year-old Paloma tells us they are staying strong, but it hasn’t been easy, especially with her baby sisters – 3-years-old and 6-months-old – going to the hospital because they’re sick from all the smoke.
Her brother, two sick sisters, dad, mom, two grandmothers, and a cat, are all cooped up until further notice at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
“We pray everything will be ok,” said Isabel Garcia, Paloma’s grandmother.
FIREFIGHTERS FEAR KINCADE FIRE WILL REACH WINDSOR
Northern California firefighters during the night made an aggressive effort to attack a fire burning in Sonoma County’s wine country, fearing it would reach the town of Windsor. The community’s 28,000 residents have been evacuated.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Jonathan Cox said Monday that firefighters brought in what he called significant resources to fight the wildfire.
Ryan Walbrun of the National Weather Service said an improved weather outlook should help firefighters.
The fire started last week and has been fanned by extremely heavy winds.
Get the latest developments on theKincade Fire here.
ABC7 News’ Lisa Amin Gulexian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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