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Interruptions, mass evacuations as the Kinkade fire grows in high winds

Fueled by winds in excess of 80 mph, the Kinkade fire erupted overnight in Sonoma County, burning the winery's properties and pushing closer to Healdsburg as about 1 million homes and businesses were thrown into the dark due to delays at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. 19659002] Officials are evacuating much of Sonoma County, including new orders covering most of Santa Rosa west of Highway 101 and north of Highway 12. The fire burned more than 30,000 acres and pushed south toward Highway 128 Highway 101

Authorities said their priority now is to try to rescue Hildsburg and Windsor, north of Santa Rosa, along 1

01. Cities were evacuated on Saturday, and on Sunday morning, fire officials called on detainees to leave immediately, say and that the winds pushed the fire quickly. Authorities said 79 structures were destroyed and 31,000 were threatened.

The National Weather Service recorded a gust Sunday morning at 93 mph.

Structures in the famous wine country burned, including some owned by wineries in the Alexandrov Valley. The Soda Rock Winery on State Highway 128 near Healdsburg was consumed early Sunday morning.

Firefighters stated that their goal was to keep the fire east of Highway 101 and north of Highway 128.

Ron Babini stood with his two friends on the sidewalk in front of his house at the dawn in Healdsburg.

The mandatory evacuation remained in force and the trio were one of the only civilians left in the city of wine. The streets were strewn with branches of the wind, which sank to the south and south. In the town square, the red umbrellas in front of the café crashed and the only vehicles on the road were neon green fire trucks and police jeeps.

Babini stated that the night was mostly peaceful. But nearby Fitch Mountain bothered him. He stood and watched huge streams of smoke rising over its slopes. They were not there on Saturday.

"It's actually been worse with the wind in the last hour," Babini says.

If the wind blows the flames through Mount Fitch, Healdsburg would be in danger, he said.

"Right now, it looks like the scariest thing," he said.


A ranch house on State Highway 128 near Healdsburg is pumped by the Kincad fire early Sunday morning.

(Louis Cinco / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters roll in the dark early Sunday morning to extinguish a host of small brazier-lit blazers away from the main line of fire in the hills.

By 4:50 p.m., traffic was supported on Highway 101 in Santa Rosa as residents of neighborhoods burned in the 2017 Tubbs fire left their homes again in darkness and insecurity.

Daniel Barcinas, his two brothers and his 80-year-old grandmother were still in their house before dawn on Sunday, despite an evacuation order that reached right down their street but stopped near their front door. Barcinas had lost two homes in the last fire.

He lived in Coffey Park for rent with his grandmother and had just bought a home nearby. "The day before the fire, we just finished painting," he said of the house he never had to move to.

Karen Christensen collected two cars for her 88-year-old mother Beverly and herself at Coffey Park.

They were also caught in the last fire in this neighborhood that burned to the ground. The homes here are still under construction or brand new. Christensen just moved in August.

Last time they escaped with only a few laundry and some pictures. "I've been wearing shorts for two weeks," she said. "It was all dust.

Gov. Gavin Newsome has warned that hard times are ahead for the state.

"The next 72 hours will be challenging," Newsom told reporters. "I can sugarcoat it, but I don't do it."

In Northern California, communities are strengthened by wind to reach historically powerful levels. The National Weather Service expects sustained northeast winds of 40 mph to push Kinkade's flames toward Highway 101 and gusts between 60 and 80 mph from midnight to sunrise.

Residents scrambled to leave the city and stock up on medicines and food before stopping power. In a mobile home park in the American Canyon, Lucille Constantine, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, told Newsom that she tried to take additional medication from a nearby pharmacy before losing power. But her Medicare health insurance will not pay for additional treatments until her existing supplies run out, she said.

Constantine, 69, said she was told she could pay more than $ 1,000 in her pocket for medicines and ask for a refund. later. "You can get it if you have the money," said Constantine. "But I can't afford it right now. It's a monthly rent. "

Another resident of a mobile park in Las Casitas showed Newsom a generator he bought for $ 800 in the summer. Tom Mog, 93, said he couldn't afford the food in his two the refrigerator and freezer to break during a break and that his partner, Lillian Crimens, 87, needs a generator to power a machine that helps her breathe at night.

Evacuation warnings were issued late Saturday communities in northern Santa Rosa, including Coffey Park, which burned through a 201 Tubbs fire 7; Sevastopol and surrounding areas; and mountains along the Napa County border.

Just north of Santa Rosa, Sharon Bowne was visibly disturbed as she loaded her SUV to evacuate her newly built duplex near Fountaingrove , where her home burned in the Tubbs fire, with boxes of beautifully folded linen and an antique waffle maker at her feet that she didn't want to part with. The needle-tip bench would not fit.

The evacuation order had just come down about an hour earlier after dark and with the threat that power would be interrupted at any moment.

"I already had my breakdown today," she said. "They turn it off and we only have two small flashlights."

The last time a fire occurred, she did not warn. Bown woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and smelled of smoke; she and her husband barely left on time.

In Healdsburg, in the heart of wine country, most of the 11,000 residents complied with the mandatory evacuation, which began at 10 am, accumulating in cars that turned southbound 101 toward San Francisco in traffic difficulties. By 3:30 p.m., the city was almost empty in the evacuation process, which was smoother than it was during the Tubbs fire that roared through Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties in what was then the most devastating fire in California history.

Rhea Borja, a spokesman for Healdsburg, said the city has been working for some time to prepare people for the possibility of a large-scale departure, including a workout last weekend.

Healdsburg Police Chief Kevin Burke says his employees have been hit door-to-door throughout the day to confirm that most people have disappeared.

But not all tend to leave. On a side street, not far from downtown, Tom, who refused to give his last name, was in his garage with his son-in-law Kevin, punching holes in particle boards. They planned to seal 35 openings in his home, which is surrounded by dense shading of trees to prevent sparks from the Kinkade fire from falling into their ceiling.

"My theory and I think it's pretty well proven: believe that all the homes lost in the Tubbs fire are from openings in attics," said Tom, a civil engineer.

After sealing the openings, he said that if they didn't drive me out first,

A few doors down, Brian White was loading lanterns and listening to a radio scanner. He said he did not intend to leave his house, which has a double fire buffer from the cemetery behind it and a golf course nearby. Only a violent windstorm would drive the fire in the city, he said, adding that he was less worried about this likelihood than leaving his home unattended in a vacant city.

But he sent his two children and his wife out of town to stay with his parents in case they needed to be evacuated quickly. And his Suzuki 650 motorcycle was ready in the garage if all hell broke loose.

Headsburg Councilor Sean McCaffrey also decided to stay. When the evacuation orders came down, he was in a hardware store buying sprayers for his roof, and a 400-pound generator was sitting in the back of the truck. His family was in a safe place in a hotel in Sevastopol, but he said, but he stayed to protect the family home and three cats, Butter, Percy and Inca.

"I just think that being an elected employee, staying is the right thing to do," McCaffiri said.

At the entrance of 101, Larry Doc Doc Johnson was sitting waiting for road assistance with his two dogs, Clyde and Gunner. A lifelong resident of Windsor, outside Healdsburg, he faced a mandatory evacuation, he said, but his camp blew two tires as he headed north for the river. The fire threat did not scare him.

"I've seen fire on hills a lot," he said. But if he manages to launch his platform tonight, he said he would head to shore to deal with crab in Bodega Bay later this week.

In the East Bay, residents were notified that their force would be displayed by 10pm Saturday, then 8am, 7am and finally 5am. The weather changed with each update with wind forecasts. Wind is much harder to predict than rain.

Finding an icy Saturday morning proved impossible for many residents, but there were bright spots.

Moraga Hardware & Lumber told a local television station on Friday that it was receiving a new shipment of lanterns and batteries the next morning. The news spread through online quarterly forums.

Before 8:00 am, lines were forming in the store. Customers gladly paid $ 53.51 for a small flashlight that operated with a battery and eight battery packs of D.

A Moraga resident identified as AM Wittek had a generator in a quarterly forum. Wittek offered to loan it to anyone who needed it for medical reasons.

Others have shared tips for keeping freezers and refrigerators cold: Set temperatures to below recommended by manufacturers and freeze plastic water bottles and other containers with water to keep food cool in the event of a loss of power.

However, the planned shutdown caused a lot of grumbling about PG&E. Mog, the American owner of a mobile home in Canyon, accused the utility company of paying excessive salaries instead of focusing on public safety.

"For too many years, instead of repairing infrastructure, solidifying lines and doing all the things that should be done to make this a first-rate electrical system, they pour it into the salaries of executive officers, shareholders,"

At a news conference on Saturday, PG&E President Andy Wesay said he knew power outages were uncomfortable and some life-threatening cases, but said it was draining strong and dry winds that could knock down trees in power lines , and years of droughts that left 100 million trees dead and fuel ready are a potential disaster, he said.

"Any spark can be a source of ignition for catastrophic fires," he said. "Safety is always our primary concern."

The power outage will affect 940,000 customers in 38 counties in the northern and southern foothills of Sierra, North Bay and Mendocino County, Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley. The action is based on forecasts of "historically dry, hot and windy weather, which poses a significant risk of electrical system damage and sparks and rapid fire spread," said a PG&E release. Forecasters say peak season is high 23,500 structures were threatened and the fire was 11%.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but some suspicions are already being directed to power lines owned by PG&E. The company said Thursday that one of its power lines had problems Wednesday night around the area where the fire broke out.

In a mandatory report sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, the company said one of its workers noticed that Cal Fire was stuck in the area. PG&E said Cal Fire also referred to "a broken jumper on the same tower."

Authorities said a firefighter and two civilians were injured when they were caught by the flames while a firefighter was trying to evacuate the couple.

A firefighter was forced to deploy his fire shelter, where he protected them from fire, "a Cal Fire statement said. After passing the flames, the three were taken to hospital.

Evacuation zones include Gifford Springs, Whispering Pines, Anderson Springs, Adams Springs, Hobergs and Cobb Mountain. By evening, the zones had been extended to Charles Schultz Sonoma and Guernville County Airport all the way to Bodega Bay and the Pacific.

Sonoma County officials have opened new evacuation shelters in veterans' halls in Santa Rosa and Petaluma and at the Petaluma Fair.

Near the Geyser Cellar, Anna Levinger had a military-style evacuation plan prepared on a spreadsheet. She and her farm crew were busy cutting low branches of anything they could burn and preparing her riding school if the fire approached. She has 35 horses and menageries from other animals, including llamas, pigs and goats.

"Everything I own, even my bull," she said.

But she did not expect to have to be evacuated. [19659002] "There are fires and spot fires, but it's not the same as the firestorm they sell," she said. "I think I'll be fine."

Writers Jack Dolan and Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.

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