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Monday, September 14, 2015

Massive Valley Wildfire Razes Hundreds of Homes and Burns Infrastructure

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 1:01 PM

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The 61,000-acre wildfire raging in Lake and Napa Counties that has killed one person and razed hundreds of homes has also damaged infrastructure, Kron 4 reports.

Water distribution facilities and a complex of geothermal power plants called the Geysers (which SF Weekly visited in July) have been hit by the blaze. Although the extent of the damage isn't yet known, wooden cooling towers, which regulate the temperature of the water used to supply electrical energy, are highly flammable. The Geysers supplies power to Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Marin, and Napa counties.   

Harbin Hot Springs, a clothing-optional resort in Lake County dating back to the 19th century, was also devastated by fire. The Chronicle posted this haunting dispatch from the ruins:

Dead fish floated upside down in the koi ponds on the once terraced hillside while several blackened stone Buddha statues gazed peacefully across the scorched landscape.

A stream coming from the hill above still trickled through the property. Piles of debris burned and smoldered across the demolished grounds.

Social media has become a harrowing slideshow of rubble and ash, with much of the destruction in Middletown, a small community where entire neighborhoods have reportedly been leveled. Meanwhile, the rural town of Cobb was “wiped away" by a wall of fire on Saturday night, per the Chronicle

The wildfire started Saturday afternoon and, fueled by whipping winds and land parched by the state’s ongoing drought, metastasized rapidly. Nearly 1,500 firefighters are on the scene but the fire is only 5 percent contained. More than 10,000 residents have been evacuated, many to an emergency camp at the Napa County fairgrounds in Calistoga.



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Jeremy Lybarger

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