Forest fires have been threatening the western United States for weeks. The "Dixie Fire" in Northern California, for example, is one of the worst in state history and so far has hardly been contained. Now the fires are also reaching California's wine-growing regions: As local media report, the previously rather small "Caldor Fire" has gained momentum and is now raging on more than 25,000 hectares in El Dorado County, about 80 kilometers east of the city of Sacramento.
Numerous wineries and apple growers – the area is famous for its apple orchards – have already been evacuated.
On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the affected areas. In the Reno Gazette Journal, for example, winemaker Paul Bush, co-owner of Rucksack Cellars Winery and Madroña Vineyards, reports that he and his wife have already left their property. They do not rule out the possibility that their property could be completely destroyed by fire.
A forest fire has also broken out in Lake County, north of Sonoma and Napa Valley, and threatens locals, including winegrowers who produce grapes for the Napa Valley wineries. Due to the drought that has lasted for weeks, there is a great risk that the wind will also drive the fires into Napa and Sonoma.
Last year, heavy fires struck California's most famous wine-growing regions. To this day, winemakers are struggling with the consequences, including the "smoke taint" in the grapes. aw