Wildfires are a fact of life here, it hardly ever rains between April and October. In previous years, there were plenty of fires in the general vicinity, but not anywhere near us and never as many of this time. And we almost made it this year, too. Almost, but not quite.
Sunday was very, very windy. We had driven to Sacramento to visit the flea market and vendors there had to secure their treasures to keep them from blowing away. Everybody joked about it.
On the drive home, through Jameson Canyon, we saw smoke ahead of us. We figured the location was the local airport and hoped it wasn't a plane crash. A brush fire, we learned later, quickly brought under control.
This is what we woke up to on Monday morning:
On one of our drives around town to recharge our electronics - just in case cell service came back - we took shots of a very red sun
The following pictures show the smoke from the Atlas fire to the East of Napa:
Saturday, again, dawned clear:
But, while the fires in Napa county were slowly being brought under control, a new one started in Sonoma and was working its way over the hills towards Napa:
Here is another picture of the same fire later that day:
The town of Calistoga which was evacuated several days ago is no longer under a mandatory evacuation order, residents are allowed to return home. Six people died in the city of Napa (many more in Santa Rosa and other counties), no structures were destroyed inside city limits, in the county, on the other hand, it was much, much worse. Most people living on Atlas Peak lost their homes, as did those living in Soda Springs Canyon. There are still evacuations in the outlying areas in Napa County.
I have heard that there are/were 10,000 fire fighters involved in fighting the about 20 fires in this area, including some from as far away as Australia. The staging area for them was on the fairgrounds with plenty of tents and mobile homes set up to accommodate them. I saw columns of fire trucks heading towards the fairgrounds every time I had to go out.
PG&E has a huge contingent of trucks S of town. They managed to restore power to just about everybody by now.
As I said, it's been a long week around here, even for those of us who were only peripherally affected. Nobody I know was injured and I think nobody I know lost their home. Several people we know were evacuated and the only one who still does not know whether his home is safe or not is our mechanic (DH's car - the only one we had easy access to while the power was out - gave us problems and will have to be replaced soonish).
Here are some facts and figures and much better pictures than mine about the fires.