Wildfire Scorches More than 16,000 Acres in Sonoma Wine Country

Firefighters are working to contain the Kincade fire, which is threatening California's Geyserville and Alexander Valley

Wildfire Scorches More than 16,000 Acres in Sonoma Wine Country
The Kincade fire threatens a vineyard in the hills above Geyserville, Calif. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 24, 2019

Updated Oct. 25, 9:51 a.m. ET

In an unfortunate case of déja vu in California, thousands of residents have evacuated parts of northern Sonoma County after a wildfire broke out on the night of Oct. 23 and burned thousands of acres. As of Friday morning, the Kincade fire had consumed more than 16,000 acres and forced the evacuation of the town of Geyserville. Crews are still working to contain the blaze, which has threatened numerous vineyards and a few wineries. No injuries have been reported so far.

The fire apparently started in rugged, mountainous terrain in The Geysers geothermal district east of Alexander Valley. It was burning through chaparral, forest and grasslands as the wind pushed it southwest toward the valley on both sides of Geysers Road. Vineyards belonging to Robert Young wines and Jackson Family Wines were in the fire zone, among others. An evacuation warning is in effect for northern Healdsburg and Geyserville.

"Our wineries located in the Alexander Valley region have been evacuated and are currently closed, including Stonestreet Estate Winery, Vinwood, Vérité and The Spire Collection at Field Stone Vineyard," Kristen Reitzell, vice president of public relations at Jackson Family Wines, told Wine Spectator.

While the wineries have not been damaged, Julia Jackson, who works at the company and is the daughter of Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, posted to social media that her home had burned "to the ground." She said everyone was safe, however.

Nicolai Young of Robert Young winery posted this to social media: "Thank you all for your concern. As you may have seen on the news, there is fire on our property affecting brush and pasture areas but our structures, winery and tasting room are still intact. Our family and team are safe. We are very grateful to the fire crews working hard to fight this fire. We will continue to update you as we get information."

Local media reports said that the fire had destroyed or damaged homes and other structures along Geyser Road, including at least two large buildings at deLorimier Winery's Crazy Creek Vineyard in the Alexander Valley. The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, reported 49 structures destroyed as of Friday morning. Officials said the blaze was five percent contained.


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Geyserville Fire Protection reported at 9:31 p.m. Wednesday night that power lines were down near Pine Flat, however, there is no confirmation whether the lines actually started the fire. The weather has been unseasonably warm in Northern California in recent weeks, and hot, dry winds have been reported. The local utility has conducted several power outages during recent bouts of windy weather in an effort to prevent fires. Power was shut off in parts of Sonoma and Napa this week.

It has been two years since the Tubbs fire swept through Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, destroying tens of thousands of homes. The Kincade fire is in a less heavily populated area, but the Alexander Valley is home to more than 30 wineries and 15,000 acres of vines. As of Friday morning, more than 1,300 firefighters, some from as far away as San Francisco, were working to contain it.

—with reporting by Tim Fish, Aaron Romano, Augustus Weed, MaryAnn Worobiec and Elizabeth Redmayne-Titley. This story is developing and will be updated.

More 2019 Wildfires

See More

Can Grapes Be Protected from Wildfire Smoke Taint?

Mar 6, 2020

When Disaster Strikes, Sonoma Endures

Nov 7, 2019

Sonoma Wine Country Regains Its Footing

Nov 7, 2019

Star Chefs Assemble Super-Team to Feed California Fire Victims

Oct 31, 2019

Firefighters Push Back Kincade Fire and Sonoma Vintners Begin to Return Home

Oct 30, 2019

News Disasters Fires Sonoma California United States 2019 Wildfires

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