Napa winery owner races to save vines from wildfire


The Atlas Fire has burned more than 25,000 acres in Napa County. Fire fighters from across the state are coming to help. Officials say 125 structures have been destroyed and two people have died.

Cal Fire crews are working on hot spots through the night and helped one resident who had to fight the flames off his vineyard. David Alkosser says he planned to have his crew harvest grapes on Monday morning. That didn’t happen when a fire storm hit Napa Valley.

“So the fire came all the way down to the vineyard and kind of stopped. All our vineyard workers were here with hoses trying to put out the fire and it was amazing,” sad Alkosser.

Alkosser and his crew held the flames off. Intense heat from the ground still burning the next day.

“And I’m from Southern California and with fires I’ve never seen such a close call,” said Alkosser.

Minutes away at another vineyard, Jake Aukes watched the thick haze of smoke in the sky. Aukes studied viticulture at Fresno State and moved to Napa six months ago.

“I moved out here for the wine industry and I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s crazy,” said Aukes.

Aukes says he witnessed the wind fuel the wildfire for hours.

“On this ridge line over here, and to the east and rapidly spread south. The wind was howling over here,” said Aukes.

“The winds have since stabilized and are now moving from the south west but that’s forcing firefighters to work on a different segment of the incident where we’re trying to get good work with as few resources we have assigned,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Smith.

Alkosser is thankful for the firefighters who ahve been working non-stop and to neighbors that sheltered his family after he evacuated Sunday night.

“That’s the spirit of Napa Valley. You can see it only at the time of crisis,” said Alkosser.

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