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Thousands of Californians have been forced to evacuate as wildfires continue to burn through the Napa Valley.

As a cluster of wildfires engulf Northern California, tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many of them headed to shelters. More than 1,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed as the fires tear through Sonoma County.

Racer Danica Patrick owns a vineyard, called Somnium Wines, in nearby St. Helena, Calif., and tweeted that it had suffered no damage.

“My winemaker says we seem to be clear of the fire, but so many are not,” she said. “Fire, water, wind and the earth are the four elements of the earth. They can be so beautiful and they can also be so scary. I pray that all are safe in napa/Sonoma. No one wants to have to start over but the valley is a magical place and I have no doubt it will come back better than ever.”

Mario Andretti, who own’s Andretti Winery in Napa, also said his business wasn’t damaged.

“As we painfully watch raging wildfires in wine country, the Andretti Winery @AndrettiWine is OK,” he tweeted. “Pray for our neighbors who have lost dreams.”

Sonoma Raceway, which hosts events on more than 320 days out of the year and is the site for a NASCAR and IndyCar race, has, so far, avoided damage.

The track tweeted photos Tuesday showing that the facility wasn’t affected, crediting and thanking local fire crews.

The fires have scorched Cougar Mountain and other grassy areas around the road course’s hillside property, coming painfully close.

“All of us at Sonoma Raceway extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to those who have been touched by the devastating North Bay fires,” Sonoma Raceway president and general manager Steve Page said in a statement. “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.”

The Raceway announced Tuesday afternoon that it will open its 50 Acres campground to evacuees seeking temporary refuge. The raceway is equipped to handle up to 2,000 campers during its major event weekends.

The 50 Acres campground is located directly across from the raceway on Highway 121 and has not been affected by the fires.

To use the facility, campers should enter at Gate 6 on Highway 121, a quarter-mile north of Highway 37. The raceway will team up with United Site Services to offer basic RV services, including water/sewage service, to campers during their stay. The campground is dry with no hookups.  

Follow Spain on Twitter @kevin_spain

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