a forest fire in the Napa Valley, a wine producing area in California, more than quadrupled in size at dawn and reached about 4,450 hectares, burning houses and wineries and forcing authorities to order thousands of residents to evacuate on Monday (28).
While the population was evacuated from the small town of Santa Rosa, and the surrounding area, Jas Sihota installed himself on the porch with the garden hose at his fingertips, running every 15 minutes to put out fires near the homes of stoked neighbors. by embers brought by the wind.
Smoke from Northern California fires this Monday (28) – Photo: Noah Berger / AP Photo
Sihota, a radiology technician at a local hospital, has been awake without resting since Sunday morning, when the fire broke out near Calistoga, some 60 miles north of San Francisco.
“I wouldn’t have a house if I hadn’t stayed,” said Sihota, adding that some of his neighbors did not either. At least 10 houses from other parts of the street beyond the reach of its hose were destroyed.
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He calculated when he could finally get some sleep, wondering if he could stand up for another six hours on pure adrenaline. “I won’t do this until I feel comfortable”, said.
California wine region suffers from fire on Sunday (27) – Photo: Noah Berger / AP Photo
It is the most recent fire in a historically overwhelming year across the Western United States. Only in California, forest fires have already devastated more than 1.5 million hectares, far exceeding any isolated year already registered.
Since August 15, state fires have killed 26 people and destroyed more than 7,000 structures. Climate change contributes to the increasing intensity of forest fires, say scientists.
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Earlier on Monday, new withdrawal orders were issued in Sonoma and Napa counties, including parts of the cities of Santa Rosa and Santa Helena.
Residents of Oakmont Gardens, a retirement community in Santa Rosa, leaned on walkers while waiting to leave on a bus in search of safety, and their masks had the dual function of protecting against smoke and the new coronavirus.