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October 24, 2020
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Here We Go Again – Glass Fire

  • The red-hot smoke poured over the foothills near Maria Carrillo High School looking toward Calistoga. Photo by Robert Grant

  • The skyline looking up Mark West Springs Road toward Calistoga Monday morning. The smoke was so thick it completely obscured the sun around 8:30 in the morning. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Cassandra May Albaugh
October 2, 2020

This story has been updated as of September 29, Tuesday afternoon at 12:30. When I spoke on Monday with the Public Information Officer (PIO), he said, “they’re not giving any media interviews at this time.” They have been inundated with calls. He referred me to their media updates at www.fire.ca.gov. Therefore, this story is based on press conferences broadcasted on local radio and from online websites.

The Glass Fire started on Sunday morning at 3:48 and was located at North Fork Crystal Springs Road & Crystal Springs Road. CAL Fire/Sonoma-Lake Napa Unit was the initial administrative unit assigned. A combined incident command, Area 3, has now been established. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. There is zero containment currently. On Monday they were focused on “evacuations” according to the PIO. Since then, they’ve combined the original blaze, which was the Glass Fire in Napa County, with the Sonoma County Shady and Boysen Fires.

The fire, which was 11,000 acres on Monday morning at 9:30, has grown to over 42 thousand acres. The incident command, now known as the Glass Fire Incident, has two zones. Napa County is the East Zone. Sonoma County is the West Zone. The west zone fires started just west of St. Helena. It’s believed they were caused by embers being blown from the east zone fire in Napa. According to a post on Monday from the Cal Fire website, “The fire has been at a dangerous rate of spread and has expanded into Sonoma County.”

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office started sending out Evacuation Warning Nixle alerts at 10:30 Sunday evening. The first one advised that there were multiple fires on Los Alamos Road and gave warnings for three zones east of Santa Rosa and around Annadel and Sugarloaf Ridge State Parks. Two hours later, those warnings were upgraded to an “evacuation order.” More warnings and evacuations have been issued since, however no additional warnings or evacuations have been issued overnight or today.

On Monday, the winds died down allowing fire fighters time to establish and hold fire lines as well as suppress hot spots with arial flights. The top priority today is in the east zone as they are attempting to keep the fire out of the Angwin and Deer Park areas. Both were previously evacuated during the 2020 Hennessey fires and have a combined population of over 4,200 residents. There has been significant structural damage in this area.

In the west zone, the fire remains highly active along Calistoga Road especially near the Sonoma/Napa county lines. Other areas of concern are the Annadel and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park areas. Using the existing trail system in Annadel, fire fighters set backfires yesterday evening with great success and are comfortable they have a handle on this area. For Sugarloaf Ridge, they are using the existing firebreaks created during the 2017 Tubbs fire to attack that burn area. The area between Calistoga and the Palisades in Napa Valley are posing problems for fire fighters due to the steep terrain impacting their ability to establish fire lines.

Evacuation Orders for the City of Santa Rosa were also issued. On Monday morning at 5:22 the Northeast 2 and Northeast3/Middle Rincon zones were told to “Leave immediately and head south!” Northeast 2 zone includes all areas of East of Bush Creek Road, North of Montecito Boulevard, West of Calistoga Road, and South of City Boundary. Northeast 3/Middle Rincon zone includes the area within the perimeter formed by East of Mission Boulevard, North of Highway 12, South of Montecito Boulevard, and West of Calistoga Road. If you need to look up what zone you are in within the city of Santa Rosa you can do so at: https://srcity.org/3368/Evacuation-Zones.

Sonoma County Temporary Evacuation Points (TEP) were initially set-up at the Veterans Building at the Fairgrounds and “A Place to Play” at 2375 West 3rd Street in Santa Rosa. Out of an abundance of caution, TEP at the Veteran’s Building was further evacuated to the Petaluma Veteran’s Building. The Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma is also accepting sheltering in cars and RVs but isn’t ready for congregant sheltering. The Sonoma Raceway is likewise providing a TEP for car sheltering and camping. A total of six evacuation centers were established with a seventh site being prepared at Sonoma State University as of Monday night.

Over 68 thousand residents have been evacuated to date. At today’s news conference, they reported 80 single family homes were loss: 28 in Sonoma County and 52 in Napa. There were also 32 minor structures loss: 15 in Sonoma County and 17 in Napa. Fire fighters have been active since mid-July fighting fires throughout the state. At last count, 22 major fire incidents remain active in California.