By: KIANA McDONALD
Mandatory evacuations were issued throughout Napa County early on September 27th as a new fire has been set ablaze and threatens a majority of Northern California. This new fire, now named “The Glass Fire”, was reported at 3:50 am near Deer Park, a few miles northwest of St.Helena. The initial 20-acre fire grew rapidly. Within a four-hour period the fire had already burned 800 acres and had forced over 2,000 people to evacuate. The first roll of evacuation orders included Adventist St.Helena Hospital, which has been evacuated twice in this year’s fire season alone. Nearby communities were also put at risk of evacuation, covering over 600 homes and representing roughly 3,500 residents. The Napa County Sheriff’s Office is begging people to “never wait until the last second to evacuate”.
Dry brush, over-average temperatures, and low humidity is causing the Glass Fire to be extremely violent. Although this fire is under close supervision by Cal Fire, it’s next move is unpredictable. Much of Northern California has been put under a “red flag warning” and people are being urged to prepare for the worst. The National Weather Service began to issue warnings throughout The Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley, and the northern Sierra, all areas that will all be experiencing a heatwave this week. This week’s heatwave is expected to bring extreme fire hazards and put many areas in great danger. Moreover, high winds are putting entire communities at risk of being engulfed in flames. As more and more evacuations are being ordered, residents fear for their safety because of the “one way in, one way out” roads in their town. These roads are dangerous for both firefighters entering and evacuees fleeing threatened areas.
An evacuation center by The American Red Cross is open at Crosswalk Community Church Napa. They are unable to shelter people because of COVID-19, but they have started services to direct evacuees to safe hotels. Officials were extremely careful when deciding what areas to send people to. The upcoming dry and windy forecast was a major concern in the unpredictability of the fire. “We are preparing in advance for the winds, so we’re going to be more precautious when it comes to evacuations and try to get those out ahead of time, to keep things rolling earlier than later…” says Tyree Zander, public information officer with Cal Fire’s Napa Lake Sonoma Unit. The Crosswalk Community Church is currently not accepting any donations besides gift cards. For more information visit their website here.
The fire continues to rage through Sunday afternoon, burning over 1,200 acres with 0% containment, according to Cal Fire LNU, who also says the fire is growing “at a dangerous rate of spread”. Evacuation orders began at 4 am and have been consistently issued throughout the day. Currently, the cause of the fire remains unknown and is currently under investigation.