LNU Lightning Complex Fires: Hennessey Fire Evacuations Expand Near Lake Berryessa – CBS San Francisco

NAPA (CBS SF) — New evacuations were ordered in Napa County as the Hennessey Fire continued to burn with zero percent containment Tuesday afternoon, one of three major wildfires in the North Bay designated together by the Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit as the LNU Lightning Complex fires.

Cal Fire said new mandatory evacuation orders issued at 3:40 p.m. were:

  • 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 Berressa Knoxville Rd., inclduing Hardin Rd and the Sufi Center
  • The intersection on Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road to all of Berryessa Estates Sub Division

Mandatory evacuations were already in place:

  • 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 Pope Valley Road to Lower Chiles Valley Road
  • 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.

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.

With the situation deteriorating in wine country and elsewhere, Gov. Gavin Newson declared a statewide emergency 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.

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The three wine country wildfires comprising the LNU Lightning Complex fires were the Hennessey Fire, the Gamble Fire, and the 15-10 Fire.

As of 1:22 p.m. Tuesday, the Hennessey Fire had burned 2,700 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 5,000 acres. The 15-10 Fire was burning near the Putah Bridge and was at 4,500 acres.

There was zero containment on all three fires as of 12:40 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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