CalFire late Wednesday evening ordered evacuations for Angwin, Deer Park and St. Helena Hospital in the wake of the growing LNU Lightning Complex fires.
The Complex includes six fires, some of which have now combined, according to CalFire reports. The Hennessey Fire through the course of Wednesday grew to more than 100,000 acres, up from 46,000 Wednesday morning. More than 25,000 structures in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties are threatened, according to Cal Fire updates.
Those flames, which on Wednesday appeared to have spread westward, prompted the evacuation orders, CalFire Spokesperson Will Powers confirmed. That most recent set of evacuation orders was put in place due to “the proximity of the fire,” Powers said, though he could not provide exact details on how close the fire had spread to those communities.
Although the evacuation orders came right up to the limits of Calistoga, officials said late Wednesday that they had been assured that there was no immediate threat to the city.
All of the fires in the complex (burning as of Wednesday night, more than 124,000 acres across Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo and Lake counties) are at 0% containment, Powers said, the product of resources “stretched thin” on both the air and the ground. That as California struggles with 23 significant fire complexes statewide, Powers said.
A spokesperson for Napa County said that county emergency service staff were working with St. Helena Hospital, a 151-bed facility east of the Silverado Trail.
Kimberly Meredith, a spokesperson for Adventist Health St. Helena, said that the hospital was in the process of calmly evacuating its patients and staff “out of an abundance of caution.”
“All of our patients are safe and well cared for,” Meredith said, adding that the hospital was actively reaching out to the families of patients to let them know where patients would be transferred. “Not all patients are out yet, but we are now in the process.”
The hospital said it would keep the emergency department open for the moment to serve local patients.
More than 4,400 homes – approximately 13,254 people – in Napa County are under mandatory evacuation as of Wednesday night, a county spokesperson said. An additional 1,240 households – 3,720 people – are under evacuation warning.
Fires in the LNU Lightning Complex burned through Tuesday night, CalFire’s Powers said: high temperatures and low humidity coupled with northeastern Napa County’s rugged terrain meant firefighters were actively engaged in a fire fight throughout the night. Crews were hoping relative humidity would rise overnight Wednesday.
Thursday’s weather was forecasted to be in fire fighters’ favor, Powers said. Five-hundred and eighty-seven personnel were on the ground fighting the fire as of Wednesday.
Asked if additional evacuations could be ordered later Wednesday and into Thursday, Powers said he could not provide information but advised that residents in areas under evacuation warnings begin preparing to leave their homes. Residents living in areas under evacuation orders, especially, Powers said, should leave the area for their own safety.
You can reach Sarah Klearman at (707) 256-2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.