Residents return home after Napa grass fire

November 2, 2011 8:38:13 PM PDT
Firefighters in Napa are still actively fighting hotspots from a 90-acre fire that destroyed a home overnight and knocked out power to hundreds of people.

Firefighters are worried about high winds kicking up flames from the fire at the Silverado Trail and Soda Canyon Road in the heart of the wine country.

The fire started Tuesday evening around 10 p.m. A wind-whipped grass fire tore up a hill and burned one home to the ground.

Fire crews are still dealing with hot spots two miles north of the city of Napa. The fire was contained around 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

Conditions will dictate if the blaze will kick up again.

"The wind has definitely died down," said David Shew with the Napa County Fire Department. "They're still predicting some north-northeast winds through mid-day today, and then of course we have the low-pressure trough coming from the north of Alaska."

Shew said that could bring lower temperatures and rain.

Fire investigators are focused on checking out a possible source of the fire: They're focusing on a power pole in the middle of a field, now surrounded by red tape.

Around 165 firefighters turned out after the power line went down and the wind pushed the fire right into what had been a house with a beautiful view. Every piece of wood that could burn did. The fire consumed about 65 acres.

Dozens of neighbors were evacuated in a hurry.

"It was really, really big," said evacuee Linda Carr. "That's what made me realize we needed to get out of here. The second time the cops came, they said 'you don't have five minutes to get your car.'"

David Pina, a volunteer firefighter for 25 years, imagined 55 vineyards in the middle of his busiest time of the year is one of his busiest time of year is one of many who dropped everything to fight last night's fire.

"It's hard when you're working all day and then before you even go to bed you go out and fight fire all night," said Pina. "It's just what you do for the community."

One gorgeous home is gone as are other outbuildings including a four-car garage, but this scene could have been repeated many times without the volunteers who take time to care for their community.

The 300 customers who lost power last night have their power back. The 24 people who were evacuated have been allowed back into their homes.

Firefighters are hoping the wind stays calm and the rain arrives on Thursday to help fully extinguish the blaze.

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