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Fires cause devastation in NorCal, wine country

America’s most famous wine region under threat

It is something with which many Australians can sadly relate.


Wildfires have caused mass evacuations in parts of Northern California, with reports of loss of life, thousands of destroyed buildings and widespread damage to the region’s wineries.


Santa Rosa (Image Google Earth/California Highway Patrol/Reuters)


According to the Washington Post, hundreds of firefighters have so far been unable to contain flames that have killed 17 people, and spread through densely populated neighbourhoods around the popular Napa and Sonoma Valleys.


With the death toll expected to rise, officials say that 180 people are still missing.


Wine and food meccas, Napa and Sonoma welcome hundreds of thousands of international tourists each year, including many Australians, who travel to the region from the nearby San Francisco Bay Area.


In a statement, Visit California said it was incredibly grateful for the hard work that firefighters are doing to keep residents and visitors safe. 


“We strongly encourage visitors who are planning a trip to the area to contact their hotel and local convention & visitor’s bureau websites for updates on closures and alternative routes, utilities and air quality changes,” it said.


The tourism body suggested contacting the following offices for updates: CalFire, Visit Napa Valley, Napa County Road Closures, Napa County Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County Tourism, Visit Santa Rosa.


Sonoma (Image AP)


Sonoma County Tourism said most of the fires were in eastern Sonoma County – parts of Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa.


“If you’ve planned a trip to the area, please contact your lodging provider before traveling, to see if it’s located in an affected area,” its statement read.


“If you are flying into Sonoma County airport, please contact your airline to ensure commercial flights are operating.


“Sonoma County Tourism staff is assessing damages sustained to tourism businesses and will provide updates as more information is available.”


For more information on the fires, visit


Meanwhile, a fire sweeping through Southern California has created an eerie orange haze over Disneyland, with visitors sharing photos of the scene on social media.


Reports from Disneyland say it is business as usual at the popular theme park.


Image Instagram: Junior Olivas


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 11 October 2017

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