SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Hennessey Fire in central Napa County grew to 2,500 acres Monday afternoon, with crews dealing with rugged terrain, adverse weather, and unfavorable fire conditions, according to Cal Fire.
There are some 200 homes in the evacuation zone and at least one building that appears to have been a house has been destroyed.READ MORE: Curry Scores 23, Warriors Top Thunder To Remain Unbeaten, 106-98
The fire was one of several fires that followed a second wave of atmospheric energy from Tropical Depression Fausto rolling into the San Francisco Bay Area early Monday, filling skies over the North Bay with lightning, igniting wildfires in wine country and knocking out the power to Healdsburg.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered in the heavily wooded area, covering Highway 128 from Chiles Pope Valley Road to Lower Chiles Valley Road, Highway 128 from Chiles Valley Road to Monticello Road, Chiles Pope Valley Road from Highway 128 to Lower Chiles Valley Road and all of Hennessey Ridge Road.
Evacuation warnings are were issued for Highway 128 at Silverado Trail to Chiles Pope Valley Road, including Pritchard Hills area, and Highway 128 at Lower Chiles Valley Road to Turtle Rock.
An evacuation center is located at Crosswalk Community Church, located at 2590 First Street, in Napa.
Authorities have shut down Chiles Valley Road, Sage Canyon Road and Highway 128.
“There are some structures threatened in the area,” said Cal Fire spokesman Will Powers.
Powers said he didn’t know how many homes were in the affected area, nor whether the fire was started by a lightning strike.
The fire started in the 60 block of Hennessey Ridge Road, east of St. Helena, and was zero percent contained as of 4 p.m.
— Kent Porter (@kentphotos) August 17, 2020
Residents in the area were instructed to go to the launch ramp to get more information from Cal Fire.
A second blaze, dubbed the Gamble Fire, was burning in an area off Berryessa Knoxville Road, north of Lake Berryessa and west of state Highway 16. At least 600 acres have burned as of Monday at 5:11 p.m., with zero containment.
The National Weather Service said the bands of unstable weather were being spun into Northern California by Fausto which was slowly moving in the Pacific off the Mexican coast.
Dry lightning storms erupted in the North Bay shortly after sunrise, wreaking havoc across Wine Country. Healdsburg city officials said a lightning strike knocked out the transmission feed from PG&E into the city.
“Power is out due to lightning in the area,” officials said. “The city lost it’s transmission feed from PG&E and is awaiting PG&E to re-energize this line. The Healdsburg Police Department is inundated with calls regarding the power outage.”
Earlier, a strong cell passed through Sonoma County, rocking homes in Santa Rosa with thunder and lightning.
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) August 17, 2020
The lightning kept some in Napa County up for two nights straight, worried about lightning strike fires.READ MORE: SJSU Commends Coach, Athletic Director For Exposing Sex Abuser In Women's Athletic Dept.
“Last night it was loud and I could tell it was close, but I imagine lightning might’ve had something to do with it,” said Nicholini Winery President Bill Narlock. He and some family members aren’t leaving the 130-year-old winery, staying to protect the property which includes the original family homestead cabin.
“You can’t replace it. We’re gonna do everything we can to protect it,” said Narlock.
The storm rumbled through areas around Atlas Peak at around 7 a.m.
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) August 17, 2020
The weather service tweeted a photo of what appeared to be a newly ignited wildfire in Napa County. Fire officials said crews have responded to about 20 fire calls since the lightning storms began early Monday, the latest being near Soda Canyon Rd.
Another fire was reported in the hills east of St. Helena.
— Vino101 (@Vino101net) August 17, 2020
- Freak Thunderstorm Downs Tree Branches, Battering Cars Around San Francisco
- Lightning From Rare Bay Area Thunderstorm Leaves Damage In Its Wake
- August Tropical Thunderstorm Rocks Bay Area; Lightning Strikes Spark Widespread Wildfires
Initially, the storms were not quite as dramatic as those on Sunday for the majority of Bay Area residents.
— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) August 16, 2020
— John B (@bolhuijo) August 16, 2020
— bRad (@poliSamsquanch) August 16, 2020
According to the weather service, Alameda County got the highest number of lightning strikes from 5 a.m. Sunday morning until later in the afternoon. Alameda County had 212 strikes, Contra Costa County 105 and Santa Clara County 101.
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) August 16, 2020
The new round of dry lightning raised the anxiety levels of weary Bay Area fire crews who responded to more than two dozen wildfires on Sunday.
Two major fires were still raging in the Bay Area — the Deer Complex Fire in the shadow of Mt. Diablo which has forced 150 homes to be evacuated and the Marsh Complex Fire near Sunol where 10 homes have been evacuated.
Deer Valley Complex Fire, ignited by lightning strikes, was burning in the rural, steep terrain on the northeast slope of Mount Diablo, making the battle even more difficult as the flames roar through the tinder-dry brush. It had grown over 1,100 acres by Monday morning.
“They started at approximately 5 a.m. (Sunday) due to lightning strikes,” said Ross Macumber with the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “Initially, we had four fires in the area — two have been contained, two are still active fires.”
Throughout the day Sunday, there were no major evacuations as the blaze burned in the rural valley. That changed Sunday night.
“We had some erratic behavior with the fire,” Macumber said. “We are taking every precaution to make sure everyone is out of the area.”
Ten homes on Welch Creek Rd. have been evacuated because of the Marsh Complex Fire, burning about four miles southeast of Sunol and about a mile north of the popular Little Yosemite Trail.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Alameda County Supes Debate Proposed Oakland A's Stadium Financing
The Marsh Creek Fire had grown to more than 1,100 acres with zero containment as of Monday morning.