Multiple lightning-sparked wildfires continue raging, sending plumes of smoke into the air in every direction around the Bay, and creating an eerie, smoky sunrise in San Francisco. Fires that began Monday near Lake Berryessa in Napa have prompted evacuations in Vacaville and Winters, and a fire grew rapidly in Sonoma County overnight west of Healdsburg, creating a widespread evacuation order.
A group of five vegetation fires in Napa County — the Hennessey Fire, the Gamble Fire, the 15-10 Fire, the Spanish Fire, and the Markley Fire — are combined under the name the LNU Lightning Complex, and all appear likely to overlap or combine as they spread through areas to the east and south of Lake Berryessa. The Napa Valley Register reports only one structure and some outbuildings having been destroyed overnight, but 1,900 structures are threatened. And the Chronicle has photos and videos of a house on fire on Pleasant Valley Road in Vacaville, far from where the fires initially began on Monday, meaning that fire is now in neighboring Solano County.
Structures are seen engulfed in flames along Pleasant Valley Road during the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. The fast-moving fire raced toward Vacaville from the northwest in the small hours of Wednesday morning, prompting frantic evacuations. https://t.co/aVTCqqwNJp pic.twitter.com/W387TGTMdj— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) August 19, 2020
1,900 PG&E customers are without power in Napa County, and evacuation orders have expanded since mid-day Tuesday to include a wide swath of the county, including part of Atlas Peak Road and areas that were hit by the wine country fires of October 2017.
Over in Sonoma County, what began as a small blaze in a remote area that had not been noticed following Monday morning lightning strikes, prompted an evacuation warning around noon on Tuesday, and grew by Tuesday night into a significant blaze that is now estimated at 1,500 acres. The Wallbridge Fire, as it's now known, has led to an evacuation order that spans a large are of western Sonoma County, west of Healdsburg and north of Guerneville — with Guerneville completely deserted as of Wednesday morning, per the Press Democrat.
This area of Sonoma County, west of Highway 101, hasn't seen a major wildfire in many decades.
A second, smaller fire in Sonoma County near Jenner, at the coast, has been named the Meyers Fire, and was reportedly around 25 acres, though it has also prompted evacuations.
As the Press Democrat reports, the combined Napa and Sonoma fires now total 46,225 acres.
And further south, the Woodward Fire in Marin County near Point Reyes has reportedly burned 800 acres and is not at all contained, and its plume has been highly visible from San Francisco. As KRON 4 reports, no structures are currently threatened by the fire, but evacuation warnings have been issued in West Marin, including those west of Highway 1 between Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Olema and Bolinas.
More fires that were sparked Sunday and Monday continue burning across the mountains in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties — known as the CZU Complex fires — with one fire east of Pescadero prompting evacuation warnings on Tuesday. In total, these fires have scorched about 1,000 acres, as SFGate reports. Also, as KTVU reports, all of Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains was ordered to evacuate, due to the remoteness of the area and how prone it is to becoming trapped by fire.
And fires burning since Sunday in Contra Costa, Alameda, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Santa Clara counties, called the SCU Lightning Complex fires, prompted broader evacuation orders and warnings on Tuesday night. The complex consists of twenty separate fires in three zones, across five counties, and remarkably no structures have yet been destroyed as they are burning in remote areas. As the Mercury News reports, two first responders have been injured in these fires.