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Update: Vegetation fire near Lake Hennessey grows to 2,500 acres, prompts evacuations

  • Updated
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Napa County Fire

A view from Mount St. Helena at mid-day Monday of smoke from the fire that started on Hennessey Ridge Road at dawn, forcing evacuations of residences in rural Napa County. 

Cal Fire fought a fast-moving vegetation fire Monday that began near Hennessey Ridge Road, east of Napa’s Lake Hennessey, at dawn and grew to 2,500 acres by early evening.

The fire broke out in rugged terrain during Monday morning’s lightning storm, and resulted in series of expanded residential and business evacuations as the morning progressed.

There were no early reports of significant structure losses.

A second blaze, called the Gamble fire, which also started during the electrical storm, had burned 600 acres off Berryessa Knoxville Road as of 5:11 p.m., but no residences appeared threatened. Whether lightning caused this fire is also not known, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

Residents along the dead end Hennessey Ridge Road were ordered to evacuate at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m., the Napa County Sheriff’s Office expanded the evacuations to Highway 128 from Lower Chiles to Monticello Road, Highway 128 from Chiles Pope Valley Road to Lower Chiles Road and Chiles Pope Valley Road from Highway 128 to Lower Chiles Road.

Evacuation warnings were issued for Highway 128 at Silverado Trail to Chiles Pope Valley Road, including the Pritchard Hill area, as well as Highway 128 at Lower Chiles Road to Turtle Rock.

Road closures in the area include Chiles Pope Valley Road, Sage Canyon Road and Highway 128, the county said.

It’s not known how many homes are in the area were evacuated, said Will Powers, a Cal Fire spokesman.

There was zero containment of both fires as of 5 p.m..

Cal Fire has brought in significant air and ground support to fight the Hennessey Fire, which was located in steep terrain.

High humidity helped to reduce the Hennessey Fire’s rate of spread, but erratic winds propelled the fire, Powers said.

Evacuees were being directed to CrossWalk Community Church, 2590 First St., in Napa. The church was to be used as a place to give out information, not as a shelter, officials said.

Cal Fire has opened a public information line at (707) 967-4207. For mental health resources and other assistance, please visit or call the Napa County Public Information Hotline at 707-253-4540.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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