The combination of fires known as LNU Lightning Complex in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties tripled on Wednesday to cover 124,100 acres by evening, when state officials said all parts were still burning out of control.
At that point, the state fire agency said in a statement, four civilians had been injured, and the fires had destroyed 105 structures and damaged 70. Another 25,000 structures — homes, businesses, barns and more — were threatened in the largely rural area.
The largest blaze in the LNU Complex is Napa County’s Hennessey Fire, which reached 100,000 acres Wednesday after extending overnight toward Solano County, reportedly burning dozens of homes. Those impacts could not be confirmed. The Hennessey Fire is made up of the merged Gamble, Green and Markley fires. Also in Napa County is the Spanish Fire near Spanish Flat, which stood at 4,100 acres as of 7 p.m.
Stretching across parts of Napa and Lake counties, the complex also includes Morgan Fire, at 3,500 acres as of 7 p.m.
And in Sonoma County, the LNU Complex includes Walbridge Fire west of Healdsburg, at 14,000 acres; Meyers Fire north of Jenner, at 2,500 acres as of 7 p.m.; and a third, smaller blaze, along Skaggs Springs Road to the north.
Cal Fire’s statement listed each blaze in the LNU Complex as “0 percent contained.”
The Walbridge Fire, the largest of the three in Sonoma County, has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. And assistant Santa Rosa Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal said at an afternoon news conference that it was pushing southeast towards the Russian River community of Guerneville.
Earlier in the day, it had entered the north end of the Austin Creek State Recreation Area adjacent to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
Conditions including low humidity, wind, high heat and dry undergrowth and “incredibly dry fuels” such as grass and brush have been significant challenges, Lowenthal said.
Sonoma County Emergency Services Director Chris Godley said Wednesday afternoon:
“We expect to be in a fire fight for the next three to five days.”
Godley said mandatory evacuation orders have been issued to about 7,700 people in Sonoma County, and about 8,000 residents are in zones where an evacuation warning has been issued. Evacuations orders could change that balance.
About 6,600 Napa County residents had been ordered to evacuate from 2,200 homes, county spokeswoman Janet Upton said mid-afternoon. About 7 p.m., authorities issued another mandatory evacuation order related to the Hennessey Fire that included the communities of Angwin and Deer Park, near St. Helena, which together have about 5,000 residents.
In Lake Country, the communities of Hidden Valley Lake and Jerusalem Valley were ordered to evacuate Wednesday afternoon.
Details on the injuries and structure damage were unavailable.