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Wildfires Plunge Vineyard Workers, Owners Into Same Struggle

When wildfires ignited in California wine country, the flames plunged wealthy vintners into the same desperate struggle as their low-wage laborers.

The fires were the deadliest and most destructive in state history. Vineyard workers and entrepreneurs alike fought to preserve the things most precious to them — families, belongings and businesses.

As the flames approached, grape pickers stopped harvesting fruit and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay. They spent days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines for safety.

Grape pickers spread word of the threat and helped neighbors pack up their homes. The owner of an elite golf resort abandoned his home to try to save his golf course.

Hundreds of evacuees fled to beach campgrounds, where the affluent slept alongside migrant workers.


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