‘Point Fire’ threatens dozens of wineries, area winegrowers flee

‘Point Fire’ threatens dozens of wineries, area winegrowers flee
‘Point Fire’ threatens dozens of wineries, area winegrowers flee

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Guests enjoying an afternoon of wine tasting at Capo Creek Winery on West Dry Creek Road were forced to flee after the wind-driven Point Fire broke out Sunday afternoon, June 16, in the heart of one of Sonoma County’s most iconic wine regions.

Capo Creek Winery owner Mary Roy said she started smelling smoke and receiving notifications of the fire on the Watch Duty app.

Roy was hosting about nine customers for a food and wine pairing at his 48-acre (20-hectare) property, located between Mountain View Ranch Road and Stang Road, when sheriff’s deputies drove by with sirens blaring.

The winery owner told her customers it was time to leave, noting that the guests were from out of town and some of them had arrived by Uber.

“I was trying to stay calm,” Roy said in a phone call from Petaluma, where she was evacuated shortly before 6 p.m. with her dog. “I told them, ‘You have to call the driver now.’ “I tried to be firm but not scare them.”

After Roy sent his employees home, she also left and watched the fire’s progress for a while from Dry Creek Road, knowing it was getting dangerously close to her property.

“The winds are very strong. The way it lashed and spread. I wish I could see more airplanes, but I’m not a firefighter. I know they are doing the best they can,” she said, adding that she wasn’t going to take any chances. “If you live in Dry Creek Valley, get out of there immediately because you can get trapped there.”

About three miles closer to Healdsburg along the winding, narrow two-lane West Dry Creek Road, Dry Creek Vineyard is on the edge of the evacuation zone just east on Lambert Bridge Road.

Tim Bell, director of winemaking, said shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday that the winery’s maintenance team was thinning out the perimeter of the property and keeping an eye on things until an evacuation order comes, if ever. arrives.

Although his stance now is simply watch and wait, Bell said that “the safety of the warehouse employees is paramount” and that it is a very anxious time for everyone.

Warehouses in the evacuation zone

The Point Fire was first reported around 12:50 p.m. Sunday on Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road, near Marina Road. Dozens of wineries and vineyards dot the rural landscape of Dry Creek Valley, just south of the fire.

The evacuation orders, the first issued at 3:02 p.m., covered farmhouses and wineries northwest of Healdsburg along West Dry Creek Road, north of Stang Road.

Wineries in the evacuation zone include Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery of Healdsburg, Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, Raymond Burr Vineyards, Capo Creek Winery, Martorana Family Winery, Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate, Quivira Vineyards, Mounts Family Winery, A Rafanelli Dutcher Crossing Winery and Winery in Geyserville.

Many wineries surround the evacuation zone, including Dry Creek Vineyard, Lambert Bridge Winery, Amista Vineyards, Papapietro Perry Winery, Reeve Wines, Kokomo Winery, Chateau Diana, Williamson Wines, Esthete Wines, Talty Vineyards, Guadagni Family Wines, Trattore Farms and Winery and Vineyards of the Sbragia family.

In and around the evacuation zone are also dozens of prized vineyards that supply grapes to area wineries.

A rapidly growing fire

The fire grew rapidly amid afternoon heat and gusts of at least 28 mph. By 4:30 p.m. Sunday, some fire crews had moved in to defend structures that were threatened along West Dry Creek Road, a winding north-south road that runs parallel to Dry Creek Road, which serves many of the wineries in Dry Creek Valley.

By 6:30 p.m., the fire had consumed 550 acres as it moved up Bradford Mountain. As of 10 p.m., the size of the fire was over 1,000 acres (more than 405 hectares), with 15% containment, according to Cal Fire.

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 400 people had been evacuated and 4,000 were under an evacuation warning.

As of early Monday, the Point Fire was 20% contained and remained at 1,100 acres (410 hectares).

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

You can contact staff writer Jennifer Graue at 707-521-5262 or [email protected]. In X (Twitter) @JenInOz.

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