Firefighters battling wildfires in the North Bay

May 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
CAL FIRE has been fighting the flames up and down the state while dealing with high winds and hot temperature. In Northern California alone Wednesday, there were four fires burning from Knights Valley to Yountville.

A blaze named the "Yellow Fire" burning just outside Calistoga in Sonoma County has burned 125 acres so far. It's the largest fire seen in the area so far this season, but not the most devastating. That fire is about two miles away where Nick Giglia and his friends now know the difference 24 hours and a night of high winds can make. Not much remains of the home he has been renting for almost two decades.

"We were asleep. We heard a loud crash. It ended up being the oak tree," he said. That tree took down the power line that started the fire that nearly finished off the house. "It was horrifying for my wife and I, those minutes that we were down there alone. And I knew people were coming, but until they do those minutes are like hours," he recalled.

And with five fires burning inside at 20-mile area, the darkness turned somewhat surreal flames and flashing lights while smoke dominating the sky during the day.

The Yellow Fire was named after the ranch that it continues to burn. "It's very smoky, very smoky and windy. So, it's scary," resident Janet Lopez said. She works as a caretaker on the land which belongs to Kendall Jackson. Mostly wood and brush are burning, but some vines as well.

One bigger story in all of this is that fire season hasn't even officially begun. Asked if California would see a more intense fires season, Gabrielle Avina with CAL FIRE said it's hard to tell. "We will definitely have an earlier than normal fires season," she said.

It's already more than enough for people like Nick Giglia who lost a lot of what he owns including sentimental photos of him and his wife in. The pictures burned, but he still has her. "I was down at the bottom of the hill watching it go up and I'm saying oh I forgot my bifocals, medicine, and I said oh, I got Giants tickets up there," he recalled. Asked if he found them he smiled and said, "Oh yeah, I got my Giants tickets."

Besides keeping his wife and finding his baseball tickets, a third silver lining in Nick's story is that the owners of the home he was renting say they plan to rebuild it.

Fire officials say they expect to have the Yellow Fire fully contained by 6 p.m. Thursday.


Load Comments