Napa and Sonoma produce only 11 percent of the state's wine, but are "among the most well-known wine regions in the world and are closely identified with the California industry", said Nancy Light, a vice president with the institute.
The Atlas Fire in Napa County, which has burned 25,000 acres, jumped over the county line into Solano Monday night, prompting evacuations in Fairfield, as NBC Bay Area reports. About 73,000 acres are ablaze across Northern California, said Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott, and "most of these fires have limited or no containment".
"Essentially, we are in a mode of saving lives and getting people out of harm's way at the moment", one firefighter said in an interview Monday night. Homes and businesses of residents not associated with the industry have seen extensive damage.
The Mark West, Coffey Park, Glen Ellen and Kenwood areas have been the most challenging fire zones in the sheriff's office's unincorporated county jurisdictions, Giordano said. Sonoma County bore the brunt of the fatalities, with seven fire-related deaths confirmed, according to the sheriff's department.
An onslaught of wildfires across a wide swath of Northern California broke out nearly simultaneously then grew exponentially, swallowing up properties from wineries to trailer parks and tearing through both tiny rural towns and urban subdivisions.
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The harvest in Sonoma and Napa counties was mostly finished, said Daniel Sumner, a professor of agriculture at the University of California at Davis.
"At this time, we simply do not know how many evacuees we have, we do not know how many structures have been effected", said California Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry at a briefing by Napa County officials Tuesday. California's wine industry attracted over 23 million tourists and sold $34 billion in retail value in the U.S. a year ago, according to the Wine Institute, an industry advocacy group.
"We got our grapes in last week but others still have grapes hanging", he said. He added that wind speeds were expected to stay much lower than they were Sunday, and "Overnight the wind that had fanned these fires had really decreased, and that gave us an opportunity to really take a stand against these fires". They recalled all the possessions they had left behind and were lost.
In Santa Rosa, a Hilton hotel and a mobile home park were destroyed. He said he drove through flames in his pickup truck with hopes of saving his home. "We could barely breathe", Hoe said.
Some vintners didn't have details about damage because they'd been evacuated and couldn't yet return to their properties, Mr Rannekleiv said. He said the power went out around 1 a.m., and he and his colleagues started packing up when someone knocked on the door and told them to run. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.