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California fires threaten winery owned by LI winemaker

Edward Lovaas, a winemaker at Pindar Vinyards in

Edward Lovaas, a winemaker at Pindar Vinyards in Peconic, in the barrel room on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. He owns a vineyard called Blue Fox Cellars in Redwood Valley, Calif., that has been threatened by the wildfires there. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

As California’s wine country continues to burn, a Long Island winemaker is watching the flames creep ever closer to his Redwood Valley property.

Edward Lovaas, 42, a winemaker at Pindar Vineyard in Peconic, said he’s hoping winds will continue to keep the wildfires away from his own Mendocino County winery, Blue Fox Cellars.

A wildfire has blazed down the valley, and as of Friday afternoon sat about a quarter-mile from Blue Fox.

“I’m really hoping we get some better weather conditions. It’s only 10 percent contained,” Lovaas said.

Lovaas grew up in Redwood Valley and maintains a residence there, but flies to Long Island for work at Pindar.

Lovaas said he’s in constant contact with his friends and winery staff, calling several times a day and checking social media. The road outside Blue Fox remains open, but he said more roads are now being closed.

Blue Fox buys its grapes from other growers in Mendocino County and produces about 3,000 cases a year, Lovaas said.

His friends and staff are uninjured, but three neighboring wineries have already burned to the ground, he said.

Whether his wines will be affected isn’t on his mind, he said.

“I grew up in the town, my friends’ houses are gone,” he said. “Losing my product is the least of my worries right now.”

The fires sprung up Sunday across eight counties in California, including several in wine country in the northern part of the state.

On Friday, 17 large fires were still burning across Northern California, with more than 9,000 firefighters attacking the flames, The Associated Press reported.

More than 30 people have been killed, officials said, and thousands of homes and business have been destroyed.

The Long Island Wine Council declined to comment.

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