California winery owner raises over $48K for wildfire relief

Lester Mason
October 12, 2017

Eighty firefighters comprise the strike teams, and another eight individuals have been sent to help out in various other roles.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared emergencies in Sonoma, Napa and five other counties.

The team consists of one engine from the City of Santa Barbara, one from Santa Maria, one from Lompoc, one from Montecito and one from Carpinteria/Summerland.

Earlier in the day, the Yuba County Sheriff's Department reported a second person had died in the Cascade Fire.

The National Weather Service warned on Thursday morning of persistent "critical fire weather conditions" in the area for the next three days, with no rain expected and dry winds from the north with gusts upward of 35 miles per hour (55 kph).

The other big fire, the Atlas Fire centered in Napa and Solano counties, did not grow much, according to Cal Fire; it remained at almost 43,000 acres and was 3 percent contained, up from zero the day before. "I've woken up the last two mornings, thinking it was maybe a dream but then I realized I have nothing".

"We're not focused a whole lot on actual containment", he said. "We're at the minimum (staffing) we can be".

"We are set up with buses and everything we need to do if we get the call that a part of town or a part of Napa needs to be evacuated", Techel said. Unlike helicopters, whose engineering allows them to adjust speed in poor visibility - stopping to hover or even reverse if obstacles loom ahead - fixed-wing aircraft can't safely maneuver over rough terrain within their effective drop range without moderate visibility.

Strong dry winds blowing across the valleys from the mountains put Northern California at an extremely high risk for wildfires in the late summer and early fall.

"The sheriff said his house was burned to the ground and his vehicle was melted in the driveway, but I've still got my fingers crossed that he made it out somehow", he wrote in a plea on Facebook on Tuesday.

"Any wind event is a concern, and September and October are our hottest months", Eliason said. Until now, the efforts have focused on "life safety" rather than extinguishing the blazes, partly because the flames were shifting with winds and targeting new communities without warning.

"This to me is like a nuclear bomb went off", Larson said near his home. "But because there is fire on the ground, because there are areas still smoldering, because there are still embers unattended, this wind could feed" additional fires, "sending those embers out in the fuels to kick up again".

Eliason said County Fire has added a Type 3 brush truck to the Type 1 engine normally located at Station 13 in Santa Barbara, another brush engine has been stationed in Solvang, and two water tenders are stationed at the Gaviota turn.

"We hope we can weather this and not have any major event", Eliason said. Still, they said it was a relief to see their house spared.

The sheriff urged all residents who receive notices of a possible evacuation of their neighborhood to leave the area as soon as possible and not wait for a final order to flee.

State Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa said he received an alert Sunday night to evacuate, but by that time he had already made a decision to get out. "Go!" button for information on evacuation preparations.

"Unfortunately, some of them were disbelieving and wanted to argue", Crum said. "If they stick around, we have to decide how we're going to deal with them while we're dealing with everything else".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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