Wildfire forces thousands to flee homes in Sonoma
A wind-driven wildlife that erupted early on Thursday morning has forced thousands to flee their homes in the wine region of Sonoma County in California.
Known as the Kincade fire, it began near the base of a damaged high-voltage transmission tower owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co, and has so far scorched over 10,000 acres of land.
The cause of the fire, which has led to over 2,000 people having to flee their homes, is currently being investigated.
Thousands of homes and businesses in Sonoma County were left without power in preventative blackouts to reduce wildfire risks from high winds.
Worst hit was the town of Geyserville in northern Sonoma County, known for its vineyards.
The larger town of Healdsburg, in the heart of California wine country, has also been issued with an evacuation warning.
As of 12pm on Thursday, no injuries from the fire had been reported. Luckily for local winemakers, the majority of the grapes in the region from the 2019 harvest had already been picked, though some remained on vines in Alexander Valley.
Among those affected by the fire is Julia Jackson of Jackson Family Wines, whose Geyserville home was destroyed in the fire.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jackson received a call from a friend at 4am on Thursday warning her of the fast-spreading wildfire.
“The flames were coming down towards the house. I didn’t have time to grab anything,” Jackson told the paper.
She and her mother, Jackson Family Wines’s chairman, Barbara Banke, fled the house and drove to the home of Barbara’s mother. A few hours later Julia’s home was gone.
“I’m still in shock. I don’t think I can look at the devastation right now. There are a lot of memories in that house,” she told the SFC.
Jackson Family Wines owns a number of wineries in the Alexander Valley wine region, which is currently under threat from the Kincade fire.
It sources grapes from the Alexander Valley for its icon Bordeaux blend wine range, Vérite, formed of three wines – La Joie, La Muse and Le Desir.