— CAL FIRE LNU (@CALFIRELNU) June 1, 2022
Residents were able to return to their homes after evacuation orders were lifted in Napa County overnight Wednesday as a brush fire continues to burn, CAL FIRE said.
The old fire was first reported at 2300 Old Soda Springs Road at 4:01 p.m. Tuesday.
Officials say crews continued to work through the night to contain and control it.
Firefighters held the Old Fire in Napa to 570 acres overnight, announcing Wednesday morning that it had not grown.
“Overnight the winds were favorable, we were able to make significant progress. Fortunately, this morning the area did not increase, which is a good sign,” the Cal Fire spokesman said Wednesday, Eric Hernandez.
He said it was not just the wind that helped, but also the afternoon start time of the fire.
“Obviously at 2, 3 a.m., like the Atlas Fire in 2017, we couldn’t deploy any of our air assets.”
This time they were able to launch 10 planes and helicopters as part of their aggressive attack.
No structures were damaged in the blaze, but Napa resident Todd Walker saw the hillside in front of his home on Soda Springs Road burn.
“There was no wind. It was burning very slowly, you could watch it. The wind was actually blowing, as the fire burned downstream, you could see flames lapping the other way,” Walker said. .
His house is brand new. It’s a rebuild. His original house burned down during the 2017 Atlas Fire. But he rebuilt smarter and this time he wasn’t too worried.
“I think we’ve done a lot to make the area a bit fireproof. The side of the house is strong planking, the roof is steel, we have a lot of defensible space, so I felt pretty confident.”
He even bought an old fire truck. He started making it on Tuesday afternoon but didn’t need it. Soda Canyon Road served as a good firewall, the weather cooperated, his house is beautiful.
Hernandez also pointed out that a roadside clearing project contributed to that shooting. A grant from Cal Fire paid for the clearing of vegetation along Soda Springs Road, the route used by emergency vehicles and for residents evacuating.
“It’s important for us to have these roads open, fully open, where no embers create spot fires (in the vegetation) and at the same time we can evacuate everyone like we did yesterday,” said Hernandez on Wednesday.
He also said Cal Fire offers one-on-one consultations for residents wanting advice on home protection and evacuation.
VIDEO: Napa residents remember 2017 fire as Old Fire continues to burn
Firefighters say the cause of the blaze is currently under investigation.
Jacob Schwarz lives in the area and believes he saw the fire start. He tells ABC7 News he was sitting outside as the wind started to pick up.
“We heard a pop and then a spark jump out of it that sounds like a phone booth or an electrical box,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz says moments later he noticed flames spreading from that location.
But this is not the first fire to burn in this area. Firefighters and residents say it is in the same location as the 2017 Atlas Fire. That fire, which was part of the Northern California Firestorm, has scorched tens of thousands of acres and lasted for weeks.
VIDEO: Couple recall watching their home saved from Atlas Fire live on TV
An experience, says Tom Bird, a nearby resident, that inspired him and his neighbors to take extra steps to help reduce the threat of future wildfires.
VIDEO: Napa Co. brush fire prompts evacuations
“Everyone I know here, since the 2017 fire, has worked pretty hard clearing vegetation, clearing brush, but some events are just unpredictable,” Bird said.
But even though that fire continues to burn just yards from Bird’s house, he says he’s not worried. Instead, place your trust in the people who fight it head-on.
“We know the hard working men and women at CAL FIRE will keep these fires under control,” he said.
The video is from a previous report
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