ANGWIN (CBS SF) — An intense effort by helicopter crews and firefighters over the last 24 hours has halted the advance of the massive Glass Fire toward Lake County as containment of the 67,200-acre blaze grew to 58%.
At his Wednesday morning briefing, Cal Fire Operation Chief Sean Norman was optimistic about the progress made by 2,522 firefighters over the last 24 hours.
The blaze has been reduced to only a few reports of smoldering timbers in the western zone of the fire that encompasses several neighborhoods of Santa Rosa east to Highway 29.
In the eastern zone of the fire, evacuation orders have been reduced to warnings in St. Helena, Angwin and Calistoga, allowing the thousands of evacuated residents to continue to return to their homes.
In Sonoma County Wednesday, the following areas were downgraded from an evacuation order to an evacuation warning:
North of Alpine Road at Calistoga Road, East of Mark West Springs Road, West of Calistoga Road, South of Porter Creek Road
North of the burn scar, East of Calistoga Road, West of the Napa county line, South of Petrified Forest Road
NOTE: Calistoga Road remains closed from Harville Road to Alpine Road. All access to Calistoga Road must come off of Mark West Springs Road/Porter Creek Road side.
North of the Santa Rosa city limits, West of Los Alamos Road, South of Leggerini Road
North of Highway 12, East of Los Alamos Road, West of Pythian Road, South of Wildwood Trail
North of Highway 12 to the burn scar, East of Pythian Road, West of Adobe Canyon Road, South of the burn scar
NOTE: Adobe Canyon Road will remain under evacuation order for any address past 1364 Adobe Canyon Road
All other areas under evacuation order were still closed. An interactive evacuation map was available at https://arcg.is/0buuL1.
Along the north edge of the blaze, where rugged terrain and heavy fuels have made the firefight difficult, the fire’s advance was halted overnight.
“Yesterday, we saw no forward progress in the fire at all,” Norman said of the northern edge. “The lines held, everything is behaving as we expected.”
Norman said a determined effort by ground crews was added by dozens of air drops all day long on Tuesday by a squadron of helicopters.
“Overall, we are fairly confident,” he said. “We are getting a (weather) pattern change. Each day we will get successively more moisture in the air.”
Cal Fire’s confidence has risen to the point where for the first time they have issued a total containment date. As of Wednesday, total containment was projected to be achieved on Oct. 20.
Meanwhile, two weather fronts that could have possibly brought showers to the burn zone over the upcoming weekend have veered away from the San Francisco Bay Area. Norman said the Cal Fire meteorologist now believes there is a 25 percent chance of a 1/4 of an inch falling across the burn zone over the weekend.
“We are not looking at that as a resolution of this fire,” he said. “We are going to continue with our efforts, boots on the ground and our aircraft to keep this fire in check.”
Cal Fire damage assessment continued to survey areas devastated by the fire. As of Wednesday morning, 625 homes have been destroyed in Napa and Sonoma counties with another 156 receiving some kind of damage.
The vast majority of the 352 commercial buildings destroyed were in Napa County where nearly two dozens wineries have reported some kind of damage from the flames.
As residents return to their homes in Sonoma County, they can pick up supplies like n95 face masks and materials for cleaning up ash, as well as pertinent safety information. Officials encourage residents to learn more at the Sonoma County website.