A US Flag flaps in the wind as the Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Glass Fire tops 42,000 acres, but milder weather helps fight

The Glass Fire remained at 0 percent containment Tuesday evening, but there were signs of progress helped by milder weather, Sonoma County officials said at an online briefing.

“Firefighters have hopefully gained the upper hand with winds having died down significantly from Monday,” county Communications Manager Paul Gullixson said.

Nearly 1,500 firefighers were working the fire, and Chief Ben Nicholls of the Cal Fire Santa Rosa unit said crews have started constructing containment lines to lessen its spread, which has consumed 42,600 acres since starting early Sunday morning. The fire has destroyed 113 structures, including 52 homes in Napa County and 28 in Sonoma County, and more than 10,000 structures remain threatened.

The favorable weather may not last, with the possibility of a red flag warning being issued for Wednesday and Thursday as temperatures are expected to climb to 100 degrees. Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner said crews are extinguishing hot spots to ensure nothing reignites in hot weather.

“We’ve got a lot of fire on the ground still, but there’s a lot that can still burn,” he said.

On Tuesday, “Aircraft operations were inhibited by smoky conditions and poor visibility,” according to Cal Fire.

An end to the mandatory evacuation order for the city of Calistoga “is not anticipated to occur in the near term,” the city said, and police are patrolling to ensure that people stay away.

Santa Rosa Police Chief Ray Navarro said his department has located all missing persons reported in the city so far and said the public should not hesitate to inform the department of anyone unaccounted for.

Sonoma Sheriff Mark Essick said deputies have made five arrests of people entering evacuation zones, but that none have been for looting. Essick noted that this is the fourth major fire in the area since 2017, saying “We all have fire fatigue.”

Firefighters, too, are tired.

“It’s been a long season,” Billy See, the incident commander for Cal Fire Incident Management Team Three, said earlier Tuesday. “Most of (these firefighters) have been going since the middle of

July, without rest, from fire to fire to fire here in the northern part of the state.”

As of Tuesday evening, some evacuation orders in Santa Rosa had been downgraded to warnings, but in Napa County an immediate evacuation order was issued for all areas west of State Routes 29 and 128 in Napa County to the county line.

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