NORTH BAY FIRES THREATEN SONOMA RACEWAY
The North Bay fires have wreaked havoc in Northern California, but as of 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway had escaped structural damage.
“All of us at Sonoma Raceway extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to those who have been touched by the devastating North Bay fires,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager in a press release. “Our facilities team and a number of local fire companies have been battling grassland fires on Cougar Mountain and elsewhere around our property, and at this point it does not appear any of the raceway’s structures or other facilities are at immediate risk. We appreciate all of the good wishes that have flooded in from friends around the state and country.”
Sonoma Raceway most recently hosted the NHRA Toyota Nationals July 28-30, which was the 30th annual NHRA event at the Sonoma Valley dragstrip. The track opened in 1968.
The raceway completed a comprehensive $90 million modernization plan in 2002 that included a new concrete launchpad (660 feet), separation of the dragstrip from the road course and a new permanent grandstand.
Although Sonoma Raceway – as of Monday morning – had escaped structural damage, the same can’t be said for other things in the path of the North Bay fires.
At around 11:15 a.m. (PT), California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties because of wildfires that the governor says are threatening thousands of homes.
The fires have prompted evacuations, road closures and closed hospitals, and as of 11:50 a.m. (PT), there were at least 14 major fires burning in Northern California.
At least 1,500 homes and commercial facilities have been destroyed in 14 fires burning in eight counties in Northern California, including Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Yuba counties, said Chief Ken Pimlott of the California Department of of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Pimlott said at a news conference in Sacramento that an estimated 20,000 people had been evacuated in the eight counties. He said firefighters had “limited or no containment” on the fires.