Glass Fire

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Glass Fire
Glass Fire, Napa County, California, USA - September 30th, 2020 (50404528796).jpg
Satellite image of the Glass Fire from space, on September 30, 2020
LocationWine Country
Coordinates38°32′11.8″N 122°29′02″W / 38.536611°N 122.48389°W / 38.536611; -122.48389
Statistics
Total fires3
Burned area67,484 acres (27,310 ha)[1]
CauseUnder investigation (origin point is near a machine shed in Deer Park)
Buildings destroyed1,555 destroyed
Map
Glass Fire is located in Northern California
Glass Fire
Glass Fire is located in Napa County
Glass Fire

The Glass Fire was a wildfire in Northern California, that started on September 27, 2020, at 3:48 AM (PDT) from an undetermined cause and was active for 23 days.[2] It was considered to be part of the 2020 California Wildfires and the 2020 Western United States wildfire season. The fire was named due to its origin nearby Glass Mountain Road in Deer Park, Napa County, and it extended also into Sonoma County.[3][4][5][6] Initially a single 20-acre brush fire, it rapidly grew and merged with two smaller fires that expanded to 11,000 acres during the night of September 27 into September 28.[7][8][9]

Impact[edit]

The Glass Fire was fully contained on October 20, 2020, after burning over 67,484 acres and destroying 1,555 structures, including 308 homes and 343 commercial buildings in Napa County, as well as 334 homes in Sonoma County.[10][11] No injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the fire.[12] An estimated 70,000 people were under evacuation orders in the regions surrounding the Glass Fire.[13] CAL FIRE officials lifted all remaining evacuation orders related to the fire on October 19, 2020.[14]

Numerous structures were destroyed in Deer Park, including the Foothills Adventist Elementary School.[15] Additionally, the fire destroyed or damaged 31 wineries, restaurants, and lodges in the region, including the famous 41-year-old Chateau Boswell Winery near St. Helena, and the13th-century–style winery Castello di Amorosa winery near Calistoga, which lost $5 million worth of wine (based on 120,000 bottles), though its $30 million castle remains safe.[16] California's oldest resort, the White Sulphur Springs Resort, was also destroyed.[17] The three-Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood also burned to the ground on September 28, 2020.[18]

Response[edit]

More than 2,000 firefighters participated in the extinguish efforts.[19][20]

Soon after the fire began, on September 27, 2020 the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Glass Fire.[21]

On September 28, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared the state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Shasta counties due to the Glass and Zogg fires ravaging the area at the time.[22] A day later, on September 29, the Governor signed a series of bills aimed at improving the state's wildfire preparedness, supporting the mitigation efforts, and assisting victims.[23] On October 1, 2020, Newsom visited an area in Napa county hard hit by the Glass Fire and promised at a press conference that he would seek long-term solutions to the wildfire problems facing the state.[24]

On October 7, 2020, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced an investigation into allegations that private firefighting crews set illegal backfires to protect their clients' properties from the Glass Fire during the first week of October.[25] This practice has sparked controversy over safety issues and unequal access to resources for private property protection.[26]

On October 22, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that the Counties of Napa and Sonoma were added to the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, which was initially approved by the White House on October 16, 2020 to bolster California’s emergency response to wildfires across the state.[27][28][29]  The Declaration also allowed individuals who lost their home or sustained other losses due to wildfires to apply for federal assistance to help them pay for such needs as rent, home repairs, medical, dental or funeral costs, and other serious disaster-related expenses.[30]

Lessons[edit]

California Governor Gavin Newson responding to the 2020 California wildfires and addressing defensible space policy on July 10, 2020.

On October 21, 2020, video evidence of Napa and Sonoma damaged wineries[31] once again triggered thinking about the role of defensible space[32] in reducing the impact of unwanted wildfire,[33] and underscored the importance of maintaining a buffer area to reduce structural damage, such as that suffered by the wineries in Napa and Sonoma as a result of the Glass Fire.[34] In Australia, for example, fire-prone areas[35] were identified and combined with a Geography Information System to mitigate their negative impact on lives and infrastructures. Specific restrictions in the Building Code of Australia were also highlighted for construction inside these regions.[36]

Regarding reconstruction[37] in affected counties, the instructions from the California State Government[38] suggested removing nearby vegetation and using fire-resistant building materials.[39] Although there are studies and examples proving that fire incidents that occur in extreme weather are difficult to avoid despite defensible space policies,[40] this will allow estate owners and firefighters to have more reaction time.[41]

Potential health impacts[edit]

A satellite image of California covered by wildfire smoke, captured by NASA's terra satellite.

Wildfire smoke created hazardous conditions in the region in September 2020. Smoke from wildfires in Northern California polluted the air, with Air Quality Index readings reaching 170,[42] well above the threshold considered “unhealthy” air quality.[43]

Exposure to wildfire smoke can have adverse effects on human health, including lung capacity development among children.[44] According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), those with an existing respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, as well as seniors, children, and pregnant women, are at higher risk of health complications when exposed to wildfire smoke.[45] Stanford University researchers estimate that approximately 3,000 deaths in August and September 2020 in California can be attributed to exposure to wildfire smoke, especially among seniors with pre-existing conditions.[46]

Exposure to wildfire smoke also takes a toll on healthcare systems, with visits to emergency rooms for respiratory symptoms spiking during wildfire events.[47] Two evacuations in five weeks of the Adventist St. Helena Hospital in Napa County forced all patients and staff to relocate,[48] limiting access to health care.

For those at risk, the EPA advises contacting your healthcare provider, having a supply of non-perishable foods, buying an air cleaner, and having a supply of N-95 or P-100 masks.[49]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Glass Fire - Overview". California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "Glass Fire | Welcome to CAL FIRE". www.fire.ca.gov. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  3. ^ SFGATE, Amanda Bartlett (September 28, 2020). "Everything you need to know about the Glass Fire". SFGATE. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  4. ^ "How did the Glass Fire break out? PG&E line runs through area where fire began, but cause still undetermined". The Mercury News. October 1, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Asimov, Eric (October 5, 2020). "California Fires Take a Deep Toll on Wine Country". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Glass Fire | Welcome to CAL FIRE". www.fire.ca.gov. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  7. ^ SFGATE, Amanda Bartlett (September 28, 2020). "Everything you need to know about the Glass Fire". SFGATE. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Martichoux, Alix; Feingold, Lindsey; Behle (October 14, 2020). "Glass Fire map shows wineries, landmarks destroyed in wine country". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  9. ^ Claire Colbert and Artemis Moshtaghian. "Famed California winery destroyed as fast-moving fires take over wine country". CNN. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  10. ^ "Glass Fire | Welcome to CAL FIRE". www.fire.ca.gov. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  11. ^ STAFF, REGISTER. "Cal Fire declares the Glass Fire 100% contained". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  12. ^ "Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties is 100% contained, Cal Fire says". abc10.com. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  13. ^ "Glass Fire: Over 56,000 Acres Burned, Dozens of Structures Destroyed". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  14. ^ KGO (October 20, 2020). "LIST: North Bay wildfires prompt evacuation orders & warnings in Napa, Sonoma counties". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  15. ^ "Glass Fire destroys multiple homes, elementary school in Deer Park". FOX40. September 30, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Batey, Eve (October 7, 2020). "Glass Incident Fire Burns 31 Wineries, Restaurants, and Lodges, Including California's Oldest Resort". Eater SF. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  17. ^ SFGATE, Amy Graff (October 8, 2020). "Glass Fire devours California's oldest resort". SFGATE. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  18. ^ Batey, Eve (September 29, 2020). "Napa's 3-Michelin-Star Restaurant at Meadowood has Burned to the Ground". Eater SF. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  19. ^ "Firefighters Gain 100 Percent Containment Of Glass Fire". October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  20. ^ McGough, Michael (September 29, 2020). "Glass Fire updates: Blaze ripped through area crews saved in 2017 wine country fires". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "California Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant for Response Agencies Battling Glass Fire Burning in Napa County – Cal OES News". Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  22. ^ "Governor Newsom Declares State of Emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Shasta Counties, Requests Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Bolster Response to Fires Across State". California Governor. September 29, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  23. ^ "In the Midst of the Worst Wildfire Season on Record, Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Bolster State's Wildfire Preparedness and Response Efforts, Protect High-Risk Communities". California Governor. September 30, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  24. ^ Hollyfield, Amy (October 1, 2020). "Gov. Newsom tours Glass Fire damage in Napa County". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  25. ^ Noyes, Dan (October 8, 2020). "EXCLUSIVE: Video shows private firefighters being detained for setting possibly illegal backfires". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  26. ^ Smith, Hayley (October 9, 2020). "Private fire crews in wine country raise concerns over equity and safety". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "Three Additional Counties Added to Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Support State's Response to Wildfires – Cal OES News". Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  28. ^ "Recovery Assistance Now Available for Three More California Counties, Register Today – Cal OES News". Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "California Secures Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Support State's Response to Wildfires – Cal OES News". Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  30. ^ "Three Additional Counties Added to Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Support State's Response to Wildfires – Cal OES News". Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  31. ^ "SKY7 gives aerial tour of wineries damaged or destroyed by Glass Fire". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  32. ^ "Defensible Space – Ready for Wildfire". www.readyforwildfire.org. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  33. ^ Jenssen, Mike DeSimone and Jeff. "As California's Glass Fire Ravages Wine Country, Efforts To Help Emerge". Forbes. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  34. ^ Martichoux, Alix; Feingold, Lindsey; Br; Behle, on. "Glass Fire map shows wineries, landmarks destroyed in wine country". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  35. ^ CSIRO. "Mapping fire-prone areas before the fires". www.csiro.au. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  36. ^ "Building in designated bush fire prone areas". Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Western Australia. December 1, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  37. ^ "Remaining Evacuation Orders Lifted For Glass Fire". SFGATE. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  38. ^ ""California Senate Bill No. 1595, Chapter 366" (PDF). State of California" (PDF). Wayback machine (PDF). Retrieved October 31, 2020. Check |archive-url= value (help)
  39. ^ "Review of the latest developments around fire safety". Building Products. October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  40. ^ "Wildfires and weather extremes: It's not coincidence, it's climate change". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  41. ^ Sweeney, Cynthia. "Glass Fire claims Calistoga's Fairwinds Estate Winery". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  42. ^ "Spare The Air: Spare the Air Home". www.sparetheair.com. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  43. ^ Campus), Li Zhang (Lismore. "LibGuides: Harvard Referencing Guide: Websites". libguides.scu.edu.au. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  44. ^ Canon, Gabrielle (October 2, 2020). "Smoke choking California again as dangerous fire conditions continue". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  45. ^ US EPA, OAR (November 12, 2018). "How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health". US EPA. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  46. ^ Burke, Marshall. "Indirect mortality from recent wildfires in CA". Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  47. ^ Black, Carolyn; Tesfaigzi, Yohannes; Bassein, Jed A.; Miller, Lisa A. (October 2017). "Wildfire Smoke Exposure and Human Health: Significant Gaps in Research for a Growing Public Health Issue". Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. 55: 186–195. doi:10.1016/j.etap.2017.08.022. ISSN 1382-6689. PMC 5628149. PMID 28892756.
  48. ^ "The St. Helena hospital evacuated twice in five weeks due to California wildfires". SFChronicle.com. September 30, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  49. ^ US EPA, OAR (November 12, 2018). "How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health". US EPA. Retrieved November 1, 2020.