A wildfire which is spreading rapidly is being driven by strong winds and has now exploded in Sonoma County late Wednesday, prompting evacuation orders for residents east of Geyserville.
The Kincade fire is an estimated 10,000 acres and has no containment, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and local officials.
The wildfire started in a mountainous area near Kincade Road and Burned Mountain Road, according to preliminary information.
“Officials are reporting the #KincaidFire [at] 5,000 acres,” state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said on Twitter. “Approximately two hours ago, the blaze was clocked at 3-400 acres. This fire is moving fast, please pay attention to evacuation orders. Firefighters will be working hard through the night.”
The communities of northern Healdsburg and Geyserville are under an evacuation warning. Officials are advising residents in those towns to be ready to flee.
“If you feel unsafe, evacuate,” the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said in an advisory sent Wednesday night.
The area around the blaze is seeing severe fire weather with sustained winds of roughly 50 mph and gusts as high as 76 mph, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Mehle.
Mehle said that based on cameras and satellite data past midnight, he was continuing to see what firefighters call rapid rates of spread that can contribute to potentially extreme fire behavior. Based on his observations, the overall footprint of the fire is moving from the northeast to the southeast.
A video of the fire posted on Facebook by the Geyserville Fire Protection District was narrated by Capt. Joe Stewart.
“The fire is moving at a dangerous rate,” Stewart said. “If you are woken by emergency alerts, please heed those warnings and evacuate.”
UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said on Twitter that the fire “may well burn all the way toward east side” of the Alexander Valley, “where [a] nearly continuous line of vineyards will hopefully act as broad firebreak. 65mph+ winds in hills, but nearly calm in valleys.”
The fire comes two years after a series of blazes devastated Santa Rosa and other wine country communities, leaving dozens dead and thousands of homes lost.