2 homes burned in Napa Co. wildfire

October 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A fast-moving wildfire in Napa County has destroyed two homes, and is threatening several others.The fire is burning out of control near St. Helena at Deerpark and Sanitarium Roads. At least 200 acres have already burned.

The Napa County fire started small and spread quickly, fueled by low humidity and gusty winds. The flames are burning in the Deer Park area in Napa County, north of St. Helena, close to Angwin. The fire is moving closer to Meadowood Resort Hotel and is approximately 10 miles away.

The fire started around 4:40 p.m. Friday afternoon and by midnight the fire burned 200 acres. Flames destroyed two structures, but there are no reports yet of any injuries.

Firefighters feared something like this would happen with the Red Flag Warning up for the Bay Area for Friday and Saturday. Conditions are very dry and dangerous due to the northerly winds. Firefighters say the unpredictability nature of the winds could end up doing some serious damage.

Residents have been telling each other that a broken down car on the side of the road started this fire. However, fire officials say they have yet to confirm that. Authorities have evacuated homes, but it is unclear how many. The northern part of Meadowood Resort has been advised to evacuate. Many roads in the Deer Park area are blocked off, so there are quite a few people who are waiting and wondering what to do next.

About 400 firefighters have been called in. They say it's going to be a long night, since they are at the mercy of the winds, and there's no telling when the fire will be under control.

St. Helena High School is an evacuation center just south of where the fire started. Earlier on Friday evening there were 20 to 30 people there, until the California Highway Patrol arrived and let the majority of those people return to their homes using a back route.

The plan is to keep the evacuation center open all night.

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