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UPDATED with latest: In an afternoon briefing, fire officials said the Highway 29 corridor, in which Governor Gavin Newsom’s winery lies, as not been directly impacted, but “there is a lot of heat in those still areas from the initial fire push and we are closely monitoring that.”
More importantly, officials warned that with the flow of the northeast winds that are forecast tonight and tomorrow they “expect that there is going to be an impact top the valley floor, as well.” That’s where the governor’s winery is. There are resources stationed to combat the expected growth.
AIR OPS: This is the current aerial view of Division H (northern-most portion) of the #GlassFire. We will have another update tonight on how the 🚩 Red Flag Warning 🚩 is impacting firefighters. Stay with us… pic.twitter.com/2BA3W9ym5T
— CAL FIRE LNU (@CALFIRELNU) October 1, 2020
Officials reported that a defensive firing operation a few miles to the west of Newsom’s Plumpjack Winery was only partially successful as flames outflanked those positions. “As a result,” they said, “We do have fire that is pushing toward the Oakville community.”
Newsom’s property is about a mile the other side of Oakville. Officials say crews are “engaged in fire suppression and structure defense in that area.”
PREVIOUSLY: As California Governor Gavin Newsom toured the wildfire damage in the Deer Park area of Napa County on Thursday a new blaze, dubbed the Campbell Fire, broke out very close to the winery he co-owns with oil heir Gordon Getty. While it was quickly extinguished, the fire highlighted the precarious state of his property.
Newsom’s Plumpjack Winery off of Highway 29 near Oakville has been increasingly threatened over the past few days by the Glass Fire, which was ignited September 27 to the north, near Calistoga. The fire has scorched 57,000 acres and now stands at 5% containment.
Surveying the damage of the #GlassFire today.
Heartbreaking to see the devastation that this fire has caused. Immensely grateful for the firefighters and first responders that have tirelessly fought to keep this community safe. pic.twitter.com/lneGQMxpIv
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 1, 2020
According to Thursday morning’s Cal Fire briefing, two arms of The Glass Fire are now making separate pushes — one south, the other east — toward Newsom’s multimillion dollar winery.
There is also the giant, but mostly contained LNU Complex Fire just 10 miles or so to the east of Newsom’s property. That fire — which contains the once-separate Hennessy Fire — has scorched 363,000 acres and has been burning for over a month. While the LNU Complex Fire is 98% contained, with a red flag warning declared through tomorrow, the east/northeast winds being seen in the region may tend to spread the fire toward Newsom’s property.
When asked about the threats to his property as he toured the damage in nearby Deer Park, Newsom sought to refocus attention.
“It’s not just my private life before I got in politics, it’s my family here,” said the Governor. “I just left my cousin Mike. We have a lot of employees who live up here. We have people who have lost homes up here.”
Pushed for the status of his property, Newsom demurred.
“I have all these things in a blind trust. I don’t actively manage these things. I think it’s important to have a firewall there. But in regards to empathy, I have a deep empathy for the people dealing with these things.”
Indeed, the Glass Fire has destroyed over 240 structures in the area, among them many well-known wineries.
The fires spread on Thursday as a red flag warning was issued in the area. It forecast gusty winds and low humidity and will remain in effect until Friday.
#RedFlagWarning in effect for portions of western California until Friday for gusty winds and low humidity. This is #CriticalFireWeather so use caution outdoors. More tips: https://t.co/upBwccxXFO pic.twitter.com/OtpVkKmK5Q
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) October 1, 2020
Ben Nichols, the Cal Fire Division Chief in Sonoma County said that, out of the dozens of major fires burning in the state, the Glass Fire was now the top priority.
“We are engaged in structure defence in multiple locations in the East Zone of the county,” said Nichols. “We are in a dynamic situation right now and the winds have not even started up.”
“The Glass Fire is the number one priority fire in the state,” he continued, “so we will have priority on resources.”
Nichols said that the number of 240 structures reported destroyed thus far was low. “Those numbers are continuing to go up…that number will continue to go up here pretty substantially.”
Twitter users have shared harrowing video from the Glass Fire.
— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) September 28, 2020
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