Sonoma County

Mandatory Evacuations Orders Lifted in Schellville Area of Sonoma County

Mandatory and advisory evacuations previously in effect in rural Sonoma County near Schellville have now been lifted, as firefighters have contained a seven-acre fire that apparently started in a ditch and then spread to winery complex outbuildings, firefighters said.

The fire was first reported just before 4 p.m. in a ditch alongside state Highway 121 less than a mile south of the state Highway 116 intersection, said Ray Mulas, chief of the Schell-Vista Fire Protection District. Wind gusts of up to 45 mph in that area enabled the fire to spread quickly, he said, and prompted evacuations.

The fire burned vegetation and spread to outbuildings at the nearby Cornerstone Sonoma wine-tasting complex, Mulas said. Attendees of two weddings and a birthday party taking place at the Cornerstone were evacuated, said Mulas, adding that an estimated 200 people were evacuated from an area of about a square mile from where the fire burned.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the scene, Mulas said, and they had the blaze contained by about 5:15 p.m. Saturday. No one was injured, but three outbuildings were destroyed, Mulas said. Firefighters saved six others, he said.

The cause is under investigation, Mulas said, but someone tossing a lit cigarette from a car on Arnold Drive is a distinct possibility.

"It sure is looking that way - we don't know of anything else right now," Mulas said.

Fire crews are expected to be on the scene well into the night doing mop-up work, Mulas said.

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