Wildfires Have Devastated California's Wine Country Even As Firefighters Managed to Contain 2 of the Largest Blazes
California firefighters have managed to fully contain two of the largest fires in the state, but are still batting raging blazes in the north as high heat and strong winds threaten to make their jobs harder.
The SCU and LNU lightning Complex Fires were 100 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE. These fires, lightning complexes that began in August, were the third and fourth largest wildfires in California's history, CNN reported.
While firefighters have managed to contain these major blazes, they are still battling a new round of threats, including the Zogg Fire, which has burned more than 56,000 acres and where one person was found dead, and the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties, which has burned more than 60,000 acres.
On Thursday, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom visited wine country, surveying the damage caused by the Glass Fire and walking through charred structures that stood as shells of their former selves. So far, that fire has destroyed more than 580 structures, including devastating the luxury Meadowood Napa Valley resort. It's three-Michelin star eatery Restaurant at Meadowood was completely destroyed, according to Food & Wine.
Sherman Family Vineyards is completely destroyed while wineries like Cain Vineyard and Winery, Castello di Amorosa, and over a dozen others suffered significant damage, F&W also reported.
“I can't imagine for the kids, the families seeing these images, what's going through your mind," Newsom said as he toured a burned elementary school, according to ABC7 News in the Bay Area. "We're in it for the long haul. We're not just here for a moment. We have your backs and we're very sorry you're going through all this."
Strong winds and dry conditions are making for elevated fire conditions, according to CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford, who added 76 percent of the West is currently under drought conditions and no rainfall is expected until the end of next week.
This has been a historic year for wildfires in the state and throughout the West Coast, with more than 3.9 million acres burned in California alone, CAL FIRE noted. In total, the state has seen more than 8,100 wildfires since the beginning of the year, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, turning the skies an “apocalyptic” orange, and killing dozens.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.