Thursday, October 29, 2020
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California’s wildfires sends animals fleeing, torches entire neighborhoods

A wind-driven wildfire which erupted over the weekend in the heart of northern California’s Napa Valley wine country, forced the evacuation of a hospital and hundreds of homes, authorities said.

Fire crews were out in force on Sunday (September 27) and Monday (September 28), scrambling to fend off flames threatening neighborhoods and vineyards at the northern end of the famed wine-growing valley and surrounding hillsides, about 75 miles (120 km) north of San Francisco.

The blaze, dubbed the Glass Fire, broke out before dawn near Calistoga and raced toward the adjacent communities of Deer Park and St. Helena, with flames reaching within a mile of the Adventist Health St. Helena hospital.

Authorities ordered about 600 homes evacuated on Sunday, with residents of 1,400 more warned to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice, said Tyree Zander, a spokesman for the state’s forestry and fire protection department (CalFire). The notices affected at least 5,000 people, he added.

Further north in Shasta County where the Zogg fire was spreading, small animals including a kitten could be seen attempting to flee the flames.

California wildfires have scorched more than 3.7 million acres in the first nine months of 2020, far exceeding any single year in state history, killing 26 people and destroying more than 7,000 structures.

(Production: Deborah Gembara)

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