An Unidentified Firefighter Has Lost His Life While Battling The California Wildfires

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The death of an unnamed firefighter early Tuesday morning casts a shadow on the steady uphill progress that fire crews are making to contain the vicious wildfires consuming northern California for over a week. The unidentified contractor was driving a water tanker near Yountville before dawn this morning as part of efforts to combat the Nuns Fire, which has consumed 51,512 acres thus far. He was killed when the truck rolled over on the Oakville Grade near Highway 29.

11,000 other firefighters have been combating several simultaneous blazes since October 8th. The Nuns Fire is 53 percent contained as of now. The Tubbs Fire is still burning across 36,432 acres of Sonoma County, and the Napa County Atlas Fire continues to rage on over 51,064 acres. Both of those blazes are now at least 70 percent contained, though they burned thousands of homes, businesses, and vineyards before fire crews got the upper hand.

Even as thousands of residents have evacuated the area, fire crews have pressed in, and field workers have thrown on protective masks to pick the last of the season’s grapes before the fires get too close. PG&E is working on getting electrical service restored in the North Bay area. Even many residents who were able to remain in place have been issued water boil advisories and are suffering from poor air quality.

But there’s hope that conditions will continue to improve, not only thanks to the tireless work of area firefighters but also due to an improved weather forecast. “The weather was better than it was predicted,” said Deputy Brandon Jones of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office of Monday’s weather. “We had no significant flare-ups and no evacuations. The word from the front lines … it was a good evening out there.”

(Via SF Chronicle)