Fire crews work relentlessly to contain Glass Fire, save evacuated city of Calistoga

Thursday, October 1, 2020
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It seems counter-intuitive to set fires when you're trying to stop one, but that's exactly what firefighters are doing high atop Diamond Mountain Road in Napa County to contain the Glass Fire burning just a few miles from downtown Calistoga.

CALISTOGA, Calif. (KGO) -- It seems counter-intuitive to set fires when you're trying to stop one, but that's exactly what firefighters are doing high atop Diamond Mountain Road, just a few miles from downtown Calistoga.

The goal is to gain the upper hand on the Glass Fire while the winds are down.

"And so that's why we're really trying to button up the lower parts of the fire with our burnout firing operations and an aggressive mop up there," explained CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Mark Brunton.

WATCH: Drive down Highway 29 shows damage to historic Napa County wineries

Just below Diamond Mountain, in downtown Calistoga, it's raining ash, but no homes or businesses in town burned overnight, a night that prompted mandatory evacuations, though some residents still tried to get back in.

"I am just trying to get to my house in Calistoga. I have Koi fish I have to feed," said Stephen Barbessono, after he was turned away by a police officer at a road block.

"Last night was the stressful night so far of the last three nights," said Heidi Vardaro, who lives just outside of Calistoga with her boyfriend. "I couldn't sleep. The mountain was in flames."

The people here are clearly weary. A series of fires in recent months and years has left them on edge, always wondering whether to stay...or go.

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"If the ten acres above me go, there's nothing we're going to be able to do," said Napa County resident Gregory Winter, who lives in an area now under an evacuation warning. "We've got a cab over camper, it's fully packed. As soon as we feel it's unsafe, we're gonna split."

For those who live in and around the otherwise idyllic wine-country town, being ready to go, has become a way of life.

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