Number of homes destroyed in Glass Fire reaches 600

The number of homes swallowed by flames in the Glass Fire that has raged for more than a week Sonoma and Napa counties reached 600 Tuesday morning, and the total is expected to grow as crews continue to survey damage in burn areas.

Cal Fire reported in its Tuesday morning incident update that in Sonoma County 310 homes were destroyed and 81 damaged. In Napa County, 290 were destroyed and 72 damaged.

Weather conditions were hot and dry Monday into Tuesday morning, but winds were calm and this allowed firefighters to increase containment to 50%. The size of the burn area didn’t grow overnight and still stands at 68,840 acres.

Evacuation orders were reduced to warnings Monday for a portion of Zone 6B2 in Sonoma County (find details here). On Sunday, orders were reduced to warnings in multiple communities, including Kenwood, Oakmont and Calistoga.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Sean Norman said in a Monday briefing that containment lines are strong in the fire’s east zone, including areas around the Highway 12 corridor, Santa Rosa and Oakmont. The steep, rugged terrain of Bear Creek Canyon in eastern Sonoma County remains an area of concern in the east zone. “That has been our Achilles’ heel on this part of the fire,” said Norman.

In Napa County, areas around Calistoga and above the Palisades going up to Highway 29 look secure, Norman said. “The fire has backed down to a lot of the agricultural in there and our troops are in there working,” he said.

The most troubling part of the fire remains in its northern tip around Mount St. Helena near the Lake County line. “When we look at this entire 65,000-acre fire, we’ve really crushed it down to just this little piece of maybe 4 miles of fire line we’re dealing with,” Norman said. “They had a great day yesterday. If you looked up and saw that column of smoke come up, some of that was us strengthening our lines and some of that was the fire pushing. They were able to get to a point where they have 400 feet of line left and they have to find their way around some large rock outcroppings and connect some of the last dots. That will be it, we’ll have line around all of that area.”

The Glass Fire was first reported at 3:50 a.m. on Sept. 27 on the 200 block of North Fork Crystal Springs Road in Deer Park near St. Helena.

This area about 45 miles north of San Francisco is once again facing devastation as it nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Only over a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of the lightning-sparked LNU Complex that became the fourth largest in state history.

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