UPDATED on Wednesday AM with latest details: The Kincade Fire in Northern California slowed its growth to just more than 76,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, marking a week since the fire started in wine-country-rich Sonoma County. Cal Fire said firefighters overnight were able to increase containment to 30%, but that 208 structures have been lost so far.
More than 80,000 homes remain under threat from the blaze, which started northwest of the town of Geyersville. There is no timetable on when an estimated 150,000 evacuated residents may be able to return.
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Two firefighters have been injured so far, with more than 5000 fire personnel currently battling the blaze. A red flag warning for Diablo winds that have helped fuel the fire the past week remains in effect through this afternoon. A National Weather Service forecast calls for more tranquil wind conditions after Wednesday afternoon.
PG&E on Tuesday morning began planned power cuts to more than 86,000 residents in Sonoma County, with blackouts rolling throughout the day to in 30 Northern California counties. The utility has been cutting power to the area and other places where dry conditions and strong winds raise the possibility of downed lines. Residents could be without power for as long as 48 hours.
At least two wineries in the area have been destroyed so far, with many more threatened with not all of the fall harvest complete — leaving the possibility of crops dying on the vines if they can’t get picked. Francis Ford Coppola’s namesake winery in Geyersville said Monday it will remain closed through Wednesday as the surrounding areas remain under mandatory evacuation.
On Monday, the California Highway Patrol said it was able to reopen the 101 Freeway through the area, though warned the debris and power outages remain a concern. Several on- and off-ramps remain closed.
On Sunday, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said the evacuation orders for 180,000 people affected by the Kincade Fire, which began on John Kincade Road and Burned Mountain Road northeast of Geyserville, is the “largest that any of us at the Sheriff’s Office can remember.”