Tens of thousands flee fires in California’s wine districts

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Tens of thousands of people are fleeing fires raging in the wine districts of Napa and Sonoma, California.

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The Black Rock Inn hotel in St. Helena, California in full swing. Photo: Noah Berger, AP / NTB

Under an orange sky, vineyards and buildings have been taken by the flames, which spread dangerously fast over 4,500 hectares.

The fires are not under control at all, according to the state fire department Cal Fire.

Several famous vineyards, such as Chateau Boswell and parts of Castello di Amorosa, have gone up in flames, while there is major destruction on the outskirts of the town of Santa Rosa.

Susan Gorin, a county councilor in Sonoma, had to evacuate her home Monday night. She is rebuilding a house that was damaged in the fires in 2017. Three houses in the neighborhood were already on fire when she fled.

Jose Juan Perez extinguishes fires at Castello di Amorosa winery in Calistoga, California. Photo: Noah Berger, AP / NTB scanpix

Tired

– We have experience with this. When you lose your house and also represent thousands of people who have lost their homes, one becomes quite upset that this is the new way of life in the west. It is depressing that this has become a normal way of life, these giant fires that are spreading in the west, says Gorin.

70,000 people have been ordered to evacuate while the fire is spreading in dry scrub and difficult hilly terrain. Many more have been ordered to be ready for evacuation.

Several of the sites now threatened by the Napa and Sonoma fires were reduced to ashes three years ago. Then 44 people lost their lives, and several thousand buildings burned down.

Broken wine bottles at the Castello di Amorosa winery in California. Photo: Noah Berger, AP / NTB scanpix

Crush dry for several years

California has been ravaged by forest and scrub fires for several months. They spread quickly due to prolonged drought, the strong summer wind and a heat wave. A number of studies in recent years have linked major forest and scrub fires in the United States to climate change as a result of the consumption of coal, oil and gas.

Researchers say climate change has made California much drier, making trees and other plants far more combustible.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says the fire season is at its worst, with strong Santa Ana winds blowing in the direction of Los Angeles. Five of the six largest fires in California’s history are now burning. 29 people have lost their lives. Nearly 15,000 square kilometers and 7,000 buildings have been burned down.

A helicopter is involved in the firefighting work in Santa Clarita, California. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP / NTB scanpix

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