SAN FRANCISCO — Fire crews on Tuesday battled two ferocious blazes — including one torching portions of the state's beloved wine country — that destroyed homes and forced at least 70,000 people to scramble to safety.
The entire town of Calistoga in Napa County was ordered to evacuate Monday as flames closed in on the 5,000-population community, and Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini confirmed three people had died in the Zogg Fire, which has burned through 50,102 acres near Redding in Northern California since Sunday.
The Glass Fire, which also ignited Sunday, has charred more than 46,600 acres in the Napa and Sonoma wine region about 45 miles north of San Francisco, according to Cal Fire. Fire crews gained 2% containment on Tuesday night.
"Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, Cal Fire's assistant deputy director.
Fire officials say the Zogg Fire exhibits "high-intensity" fire behavior on the northwest end and is partially burning in the footprint of the 2018 Carr Fire, about nine miles southwest of Redding, according to Cal Fire.
The battle to stop the flames from crossing Clear Creek and into more populated areas west of Redding was hampered by rugged terrain.
“It’s a pretty tough piece of territory, narrow canyons, very difficult to access with aircraft,” Chris Waters of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said during the agency’s media briefing on Tuesday morning.
The Glass Fire has destroyed dozens of structures, including homes in Santa Rosa, the Chateau Boswell winery and the Black Rock Inn in the Napa County town of St. Helena. At least 14 restaurants, resorts and wineries, including Calistoga Ranch and St. Helena’s acclaimed Restaurant at Meadowood, were damaged or lost, Eater San Francisco reported.
The #GlassFire has consumed the Chateau Boswell Winery and other structures along Silverado Trail in St Helena . The fire is currently zero percent contained. #RedFlagWarning pic.twitter.com/FRiGaCrMMR
— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) September 28, 2020
Devastating photos: See Glass Fire's impact on Chateau Boswell winery in California's Napa Valley
The fires in Napa and Sonoma come as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly blazes that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people and destroyed 5,600 structures. Last month, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history.
Late Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Shasta, Napa and Sonoma counties and asked President Donald Trump for federal fire assistance.
David Zachary Brown and Ricardo Mosqueda, who share an apartment in the Rincon Valley neighborhood of Santa Rosa, are among the evacuees staying at the Petaluma Community Center while waiting to find out when they can return home.
Both got cellphone alerts about the fire late Sunday and headed out around midnight.
“We could see the fire coming down the hill next to Calistoga Road. Blazing red embers were just burning up the whole hillside,’’ Brown said. “At first it was over the hills and you could see the flames reflecting off the smoke, these big, bright billows of smoke. And a little while later it started coming over the hill.’’
Without a car or a ride, they left all their belongings behind and set out on foot, reaching the evacuation center at the Veterans Memorial Building some four miles away past 1:30 a.m.
Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin evacuated her property in the Oakmont community of Santa Rosa at about 1 a.m. Monday. Flames singed three neighboring houses as she fled, she said.
“We’re experienced with that,” she said. “Once you lose a house and represent thousands of folks who’ve lost homes, you become pretty fatalistic that this is a new way of life and, depressingly, a normal way of life, the megafires that are spreading throughout the West.”
Gorin, who is rebuilding a home damaged in the 2017 fires, struggled to make sense of another blow. “It’s like God has no sympathy, no empathy for Sonoma County,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.
'We just don't have words': At least 3 dead as California wildfires explode in wine country, forcing thousands to flee
The loss of revered Napa landmarks was devastating, Jean-Baptiste Jacquot told USA TODAY. Jacquot and wife Brittany run JBJ Pictures, a luxury wedding photo and video company that has shot numerous weddings at Meadowood and Calistoga Ranch.
"We are heartbroken along with the rest of the wedding and hospitality professionals in Napa Valley," Jacquot said. "This is where we used to document one of the best days of our couples' lives, where they would gather with their family and friends to celebrate love."
Fire season in California has been historic this year: More than 8,100 wildfires have singed more than 3.7 million acres, according to Cal Fire. Since Aug. 15 – when California’s fire activity elevated – 29 people have died, and more than 7,000 structures have been destroyed.
Contributing: David Benda and Michele Chandler, Redding (Calif.) Record Searchlight; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California wildfires: Zogg Fire kills 3, Glass Fire burns wine country