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Event at former Russian settlement of Fort Ross cancelled due to wildfires in California

October 12, 2017, 8:24 UTC+3 NEW YORK

A state of emergency has been imposed in eight Californian counties

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NEW YORK, October 12. /TASS/. A festival at the historic park Fort Ross, a former Russia settlement, in California scheduled for October 14 has been cancelled because of wildfires raging in California for days, Sarah Swidler, CEO of Fort Ross Conservancy, told TASS on Wednesday.

She said some 400-500 people had been expected to attend the For Ross - Seaview Harvest Festival but as fires were coming close to the are the festival had been canceled due to "safety reasons."

A state of emergency has been imposed in eight Californian counties, including Sonoma. According to the latest reports, the death toll from forest fires in California has reached 21. More than 100 people were taken to hospital. More than 3,500 houses have been destroyed, about 20,000 have been evacuated.

Fort Ross, the southernmost Russian settlement in North America located on California's Sonoma County Coast two hours' driving time north of San Francisco, was founded at the very beginning of the 19th century by Commerce Counsellor Ivan Kuskov of the Russian-American Company. In the period from 1808 to 1812, it was called Rumyantsev Fort and was given its current official name on August 13, 1812. In 1836, its population numbered 260. In 1841, following the bankruptcy of the Russian-American Company, Fort Ross was sold to John Sutter, a Mexican citizen of Swiss origin, for a miniscule 42,857 roubles in silver, of which 37,500 was never paid. The land changed hands several times after the departure of the Russians but its wooden fortress with structures typical for Russian architecture remained in their original form for years. Fort Ross was the birthplace of California's first windmills, shipyards, orchard gardens and vineyards. It was here that systematic weather observations began back in 1837.

Fort Ross, now a historic landmark and part of the State Historic Park in California, is visited by 150,000 people annually.

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