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LNU Lightning Complex Fires: Evacuations Expand In Napa, Sonoma Counties, School Closures

NAPA (CBS SF) -- New evacuations were ordered in Napa and Sonoma County from a series of lightning-caused wildfires designated together by the Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit as the LNU Lightning Complex fires (map). The fires have collectively burned at least 32,025 acres as of Tuesday afternoon.

In Napa County, the Hennessey Fire continued to burn with zero percent containment Tuesday night, one of the North Bay wildfires in the LNU complex.

Cal Fire said a new mandatory evacuation order issued at 7 p.m. was for

  • Wragg Canyon Rd - from Hwy 128 to the end of the road, including Pleasure Cove Resort
  • Chiles Pope Valley Road - From Lower Chiles Valley Road to Pope Canyon Road.

Mandatory evacuations already in place:

  • All of Steele Canyon Rd from Hwy 128 to and including the Berryessa Highlands Subdivision.
  • All areas on Berryessa Knoxville Rd from Eastside Rd to Hwy 128 at the intersection of Berryessa Knoxville Rd / Hwy 128 (Turtle Rock Bar)
  • Everything west of Lake Berryessa's water edge
  • Pope Canyon Rd from Pope Valley Rd to Berryessa Knoxville Rd., including Hardin Rd and the Sufi Center
  • The intersection on Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road to all of Berryessa Estates Sub Division
  • From Moskowite Corner to Wooden Valley Rd, Including the community of Circle Oaks
  • Atlas Peak from the Bubbing Well Pet Cemetary at 2462 Atlas Peak Rd to the dead end
  • From Loma Vista Rd / Soda Canyon Rd to the dead end.
  • Highway 128 from Chiles Valley Road to Monticello Road
  • Chiles Pope Valley Road from Highway 128 to Lower Chiles Valley Road
  • All of Hennessey Ridge Road

In addition, an evacuation warning was in effect for:

  • Highway 128 at Silverado Trail to Chiles Pope Valley Road, including the Pritchard Hills area
  • Highway 128 at Lower Chiles Valley Road to Turtle Rock
  • Butts Canyon Rd from the Lake County line to James Creek.
Hennessey Fire Getty Images
A fire truck drives through flames as the Hennessey fire continues to rage out of control near Lake Berryessa in Napa, California on August 18, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

An evacuation center is located at Crosswalk Community Church, located at 2590 First Street, in Napa. Authorities have also shut down Chiles Valley Road, Sage Canyon Road and Highway 128.

In Sonoma County, Cal Fire says two wildfires have also prompted evacuations. The fires in the western portion of the county were dubbed the 13-4 Fire and the 11-16 Fire.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for:

  • Entire area of Zone 1D (1D1, 1D2, 1D3, 1D4, 1D5)
  • East of the Sonoma Coast from Fort Ross the Russian River
  • North and East of the Russian River
  • South of Sweetwater Springs Rd. and south of Fort Ross Rd.
  • South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road
  • West of West Dry Creek Road and Westside Road
  • North of Sweetwater Springs Road and McCray Ridge Road
  • East of the East Austin Creek (the actual creek)
  • West of East Austin Creek and Wal Bridge Ridge
  • East of Sewell Road and King Ridge Road
  • North of Old Cazadero Road and Austin Creek (the actual creek)
  • West of Meyers Grade Road to the coast
  • South of Fort Ross Road
  • North of the intersection of Meyers Grade Road at Highway 1
  • North of Austin Creek Recreational Area
  • East of The Cedars
  • Mill Creek Road west of the intersection of Puccioni Road

Evacuation warnings were issued for:

  • West of South Fork Gualala River
  • North of Fort Ross Road
  • South and East of King Ridge Road

Mandatory evacuation orders indicate an immediate threat to life -- the area is closed to public access and residents should leave now. In the case of evacuation warnings, residents who require more time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now due to the potential threat to life and property.

In addition, officials announced several school districts in Sonoma County will be closed on Wednesday because of the fires and evacuations. They are:

  • Monte Rio
  • Guerneville
  • Ft. Ross
  • Kashia-Rancheria
  • Montgomery

Parents were being asked to consult their school district's website for new updates.

With the situation deteriorating in wine country and elsewhere, Gov. Gavin Newson declared a statewide emergency Tuesday to help ensure the availability of vital resources to combat fires burning across the state.

"We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions," Newsom said.


The North Bay wildfires comprising the LNU Lightning Complex fires were the Hennessey Fire, the Gamble Fire, the 15-10 Fire, the Spanish Fire and the Markley Fire in Napa County, along with the 13-4 Fire and 11-16 Fire in Sonoma County.

As of Tuesday night, the Hennessey Fire had burned 10,000 acres, destroying one structure and two outbuildings. The Gamble Fire was burning in an area off Berryessa Knoxville Road north of Lake Berryessa and west of state Highway 16 and has burned 10,000 acres. The 15-10 Fire was burning near the Putah Bridge and was at 8,000 acres. The Spanish Fire burning near Spanish Flat was at 1,000 acres, and the Markley Fire near Monticello Dam had charred 2,500 acres.

The 13-4 Fire burning West of Healdsburg had grown to 500 acres by Tuesday night. The 11-16 Fire burning North of Jenner had burned 25 acres.

There was zero containment on all the fires as of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Neither the Gamble incident nor the 15-10 incident were threatening structures.

Early Tuesday, a small army of firefighters deployed along Lower Chiles Road, preparing to do battle with the advancing wall of flames from the Hennessey Fire which continued to rage out-of-control and had burned through more than 2,700 acres.

Nearby stood Phil Sunseri and a group of workers from the Nichelini Winery, the famed wine-growing region's oldest family-owned winery built in 1890. They had prepared for this moment for years since wildfires began roaring through the region.

"We've prepared for fire every year," he said. "The fire can be overwhelming. You just do the best you can."

Winery employees had cut firebreaks on the property and were working as guides for firefighters, showing them how to tap into the winery's water system and the best places to battle the fire. Still, Sunseri knows it may not be enough.

"When it gets to a certain stage, we will leave," he said.

The fire started in the 60 block of Hennessey Ridge Road, east of St. Helena early Monday morning as the region was being pelted by dry lightning strikes.

The lightning had kept some in Napa County up for two nights straight, worried about lightning-strike fires.

"Last night it was loud and I could tell it was close, but I imagine lightning might've had something to do with it," said Nicholini Winery President Bill Narlock. "You can't replace it. We're gonna do everything we can to protect it."


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