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Glass Incident Fire Damages or Destroys at Least Seven Vineyards, Many More Remain in Jeopardy

The Glass Incident began early Sunday and consumed 11,000 acres in a day

Shady Fire Santa Rosa California
The Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA.
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

For the latest coverage of the Glass Incident Fire, go here.

A fast-moving fire that began early Sunday morning has grown to about 17 square miles in the past day, spurring evacuations across Napa and Sonoma Counties and destroying multiple residences, wineries, and other businesses in the area.

The Glass Fire, as it’s now known, was reported at around 4 a.m. Sunday in Deer Creek, an area near the Napa-Sonoma border, ABC 7 reports. Saying that the blaze was spreading at a “dangerous rate,” Cal Fire ordered evacuation advisories in Calistoga and just outside Santa Rosa (there’s a running list of evacuation orders here). Meanwhile, two more blazes — thought to be “spot fires” caused by the Glass Fire — were reported just west of St. Helena.

Known as the Shady Fire and the Boysen Fire, those fire had merged with the Glass Fire by early Monday, and over “10,000 residents had been forced from more than 6,500 homes,” KPIX reports. The blaze is now known as the Glass Incident and, as of 7 a.m. Monday, was at 11,000 acres and zero containment.

As the fire has moved so quickly, exact levels of damage are as yet unknown. But according to Getty photographer Justin Sullivan, several businesses along St. Helena’s Silverado Trail have been destroyed, including the Chateau Boswell Winery.

Château Boswell was founded in 1975, and (per its website) was “among a handful of privately owned family wineries amidst the 554 wineries in the Napa Valley today.” Founder Richard Thornton Boswell began the business as a producer of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and has since expanded into five different wines.

Also destroyed in the blaze was Black Rock Inn, a boutique bed-and-breakfast near downtown St. Helena. Sullivan posted video of the building as it burned late Sunday, mistakenly referring to it as the “Glass Mountain Inn.”

Other businesses damaged in the blaze include Castello di Amorosa, a 13th-century–style winery in Calistoga known for its unique “castle” building. A farmhouse on its property was destroyed, the SF Chronicle reports. It contained “all of the company’s bottled wine, some fermentation tanks and some offices.” The castle, however, remains intact.

Another loss was a 120-year-old and historic home at Tofanelli Vineyard, the Chron reports. Owner Vince Tofanelli tells reporter Esther Mobley that he believes that “many of the grapevines, planted in 1929, were also destroyed.”

According to the Bay Area News Group family-owner vinyard Hunnicutt has also been damageed. (Initial witness reports suggested that nearby Failla Wine Co., was also lost, but the property sustained only minor damage, and owner Ehren Jordan says via Instagram that the business has “survived to harvest another day.”) Wine Spectator reports that Hourglass winery lost most of the structures on its property, and that Tuck Beckstoffer Vineyards lost everything but its winery, itself.

Though it was rumored to have burned, the recently opened Duckhorn winery was spared by the flames, announcing on Instagram that “Thanks to the heroic efforts of fire crews last night, Duckhorn Vineyards is standing tall, and our staff (including our beloved winery cat Kitter) is out of harm’s way.”

In addition to the Glass Incident, the North Complex fire (Butte and Plumas counties), which has been burning since August 18, came roaring back Sunday night, the SF Chronicle reports, fueled by the weekend’s hot temperatures, dry weather, and high winds. As of Monday morning, that fire has consumed 305,881 acres, and is 78 percent contained. Also making a comeback is the August Complex Fire (Mendocino and nearby counties), which has been burning since August 16. It has burned 873,079 acres and is at 43 percent containment.

Those and other NorCal fires are likely to have an impact on Bay Area air quality, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) warns, saying Monday that particulate levels in San Francisco and the South and East Bays are expected to reach the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” level. Residents of areas nearer the fires are urged to remain indoors, the BAAQMD says.