Firefighters look for hot spots at a vineyard in the Alexander Valley area of Sonoma County, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Firefighters look for hot spots at a vineyard in the Alexander Valley area of Sonoma County, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Evacuation area expanded as Kincade Fire continues to burn

Mandatory evacuations now extend to western part of Sonoma County

Update: As of 5:30 a.m. the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office had updated its mandatory evacuation areas, omitting Oakmont, Fountaingrove and Rincon Valley. The updated mandatory evacuation areas around Santa Rosa include Porter Creek Road, Petrified Forrest Road, Calistoga Road and St. Helena Road.

A detailed map of the evacuation areas can be found online at https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2cb4401e1fc0494dbf9d9e22aa794617. Any residents in the evacuation areas should leave immediately.

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Sonoma County residents from east of U.S. Highway 101 all the way west to the Pacific Ocean are being ordered to evacuate because of the out-of-control Kincade Fire, and authorities are urging residents to follow the orders to leave the area.

About 50,000 residents in the Healdsburg and Windsor areas had been previously ordered to evacuate, and an additional 39,000 are now being ordered to leave in the areas of the Dry Creek Valley, Mark West/Larkfield, Fulton, Forestville, Guerneville, Occidental, Jenner and Bodega Bay areas.

County residents should consult the map at https://tinyurl.com/sonomacountymap for the latest information on evacuation orders and warnings.

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick spoke directly to county residents who may want to battle the blaze themselves.

“You cannot fight this, please leave,” the sheriff said. “If you’re under an evacuation order, you must leave.”

Winds as high as 80 mph are expected to blow through the region overnight, fanning flames from the Kincade Fire that has burned 29,555 acres since starting Wednesday night and, as of 6:30 p.m. Saturday is only 10 percent contained.

“It’s going to blow for most of the night … with very little reprieve,” with gusts as high as 80 mph in the mountains and sustained winds of 30-40 mph, said National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Walbrun.

At least 77 structures have been destroyed, including 31 homes, and 14 other structures have already been damaged, according to Cal Fire.

More than 2,830 fire personnel are out on the front lines of the fire or working with four large air tankers, Division Chief Jonathan Cox said.

Essick mentioned the 2017 North Bay wildfires that left 24 people dead in Sonoma County, and said that, at least in this instance, there is ample warning for people to leave ahead of what could be a destructive firestorm.

“It’s truly a selfish act to stay and try to fight this,” he said.

The windy weather has prompted PG&E to turn off power to at least 940,000 customers, meaning more than 2.8 million people, in its coverage area starting Saturday to prevent sparking more wildfires.

The utility has acknowledged that its equipment in Sonoma County may be to blame for the Kincade Fire. PG&E in January filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in response to its ties to the deadly North Bay fires in 2017 and the Camp Fire in Butte County in 2018.

Bay Area NewsCalifornia

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