Fire On The Mountain: One Vintner’s Tale Of Peril In California’s Napa Valley
Forbes | By John McCarthy | Nov 1, 2017 | Original Article
Sunday, October 8, 11:00 pm: Napa Valley winery owner Christian Palmaz received a text from a buddy with news that a fire was spreading through Atlas Peak, about two ridgelines away. Christian thought little of it. He had no inkling he would soon be facing the first of seven fires ignited that night, the beginning of what became a raging inferno, raining hell on Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Napa—claiming 42 lives, decimating over 6,000 homes and businesses, and damaging or destroying 27 wineries. As I am writing this, fires in Santa Rosa are contained, but not out.
12:00 am: “I could see the glow on the top of the mountain,” says Christian Palmaz, owner and operator of Palmaz Vineyard in Napa, California. “No news agencies were reporting this; it was the first fire, the beginning. The power started flickering, and that was the first sign that this was something big, but there were no evacuation orders, nothing like that. We ended up losing power, so I drove to the winery to make sure the generators transferred over. When I came out at 1:00 am, the fire was near the property line. It moved half a mile in a matter of what felt like minutes. I couldn’t believe it.”