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Monday 28 October 2019

Disastrous fires in California vineyard country

California's governor has declared a state-wide emergency as bush fires forced thousands of people to evacuate and caused power blackouts, threatening towns in the famed Sonoma wine region.

The so-called Kincade Fire, located north of San Francisco, had spread to 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) by Sunday evening local time. 
The blaze, the largest of more than a dozen wildfires burning throughout the state, has destroyed dozens of homes and wineries, including the Soda Rock Winery built in 1869.
The towns of Healdsburg and Geyserville, famous around the wine world, are close to the fires. 
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on Sunday due to the "unprecedented" high winds that significantly raised the risk of fires spreading.
"We are deploying every resource available, and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires," Newsom said in a statement. "It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders, and have the local and state resources they need as we fight these fires."
An estimated 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, including in parts of Santa Rosa and a large swathe of Sonoma County.
"This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff's Office can remember. Take care of each other," the Sonoma County sheriff's office said on Twitter. 
The Alexander Valley, which spans Healdsburg and Geyserville, is known for producing high-quality wines, especially cabernet sauvignon. It’s home to several well-known wineries, including Jordan, Silver Oak and Francis Ford Coppola.
The fires came after most wineries had completed their picking for the 2019 vintage. 

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