Blaze Threatens Homes, Wineries In Napa Valley

ST. HELENA, Calif. (AP) - Hundreds of firefighters on Saturday battled a fast-growing fire that threatened homes and wineries in California's Napa Valley.

The blaze has burned about 300 acres in the rugged hills near the wine country town of St. Helena. It was about 40 percent contained Saturday morning, with full containment expected Sunday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 1,500 firefighters were working to contain the blaze, which has destroyed at least two structures and threatened about 200 homes and several wineries, said CalFire spokeswoman Nancy Carniglia.

About 100 residents were evacuated from their homes Friday night, and an evacuation center was set up at St. Helena High School, officials said.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters overnight, but fire officials said stronger winds expected Saturday could complicate efforts to contain the blaze.

"If they materialize, that could pose a significant problem for us," Battalion Chief Paul Van Gerwen said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-11-08 1431EDT

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