Fleeing residents of Sonoma County, California's legendary wine country, are reliving the horrors of the devastating October 2017 Northern California wildfires as the fast-moving Kincade Fire continues to rage out of control. The Kincade Fire has forced thousands to flee.

It started around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday at John Kincade Road in the hills northeast of Geyserville. It is zero percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Powerful winds as strong as 110 km/h (70 mph) are driving the inferno across Wine Country, which still isn't completely recovered from the 2017 catastrophe.

By 10:00 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of people across an area of 60 square miles had been evacuated, including all Geyserville residents and employees at nearby wineries. Evacuation centers were established at Windsor High School and the Healdsburg Community Center.

By Thursday afternoon, the Kincade Fire had scorched more than 10,000 acres and destroyed or damaged at least a dozen homes and structures. The strong winds prevented hundreds of firefighters from containing the rapidly spreading wildfire early on.

Cal Fire officials said the fire will continue to grow before it’s contained. There have as yet been no reports of deaths or injuries.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) immediately cut power Wednesday evening to Geyserville and some adjacent communities, forcing panicked residents to flee their homes in complete darkness. It said in a preliminary incident report its equipment on a transmission tower broke near the origin point of the fire.

The fire burned part of the Geysers geothermal plant facilities in the area where the fire started on Wednesday. The plant is owned by Calpine Corporation, the largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources in the United States.

The fire caused minor damage to the equipment there and is fueling speculation the Kincade Fire started at this geothermal plant. Calpine denied this, and said the geothermal plant powered down its own local power lines before the blaze began because of the high winds and “consistent with our fire prevention protocols.”

“We do not believe our facilities caused the fire,” said spokesman Brett Kerr. “There are power lines operated by third parties across The Geysers.”

Residents of Sonoma County again have to live through the horrors of another devastating wildfire.

“I just thought, ‘Here we go again,”’ said Paula Whitehall, 65, who fled her Geyserville home in pajamas with the fire raging a short distance away.

“This is the new normal that we live in,” said Healdsburg Mayor David Hagele. “It’s disheartening and it’s scary for a lot of people because it does bring back a lot of scary memories from a couple of years ago.”

State officials still don't know the cause of the fire but before it ignited, PG&E shut-off its low-voltage distribution lines, immediately cutting power to 28,000 Sonoma County homes and businesses.

More than 500 state firefighters and other personnel are battling the blaze aided by fire engines, bulldozers, helicopters and planes, which unloaded water and retardant onto ther fires. Some 100 law enforcement officers are helping evacuate residents.

Structures burn at a vineyard during the Kincade fire near Geyserville, California on October 24, 2019
Structures burn at a vineyard during the Kincade fire near Geyserville, California on October 24, 2019 AFP / Josh Edelson