Fire Chief: At Least 1500 Buildings Destroyed in California Wildfires

by Garry Watts October 10, 2017, 0:13
Fire Chief: At Least 1500 Buildings Destroyed in California Wildfires

Several wind-driven fires are burning out of control in the region, and California governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

The Atlas Peak fire was the largest of several wildfires burning in California's scenic Wine Country. The morning commute on southbound Highway 101 was slower than normal as additional cars evacuating the fire were on the roadway. Much of a mobile home park behind the Kaiser facility burned, CNN affiliate KPIX said. Mandatory evacuations are in effect in several areas and almost 20 shelters have opened from Cloverdale to Petaluma and from Guerneville to Sonoma.

Firefighters were also battling a 50-acre grass fire on Highway 37 between Lakeville Highway and Highway 121. The Tubbs fire, which had spread from Calistoga to Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, has engulfed more than 25,000 acres (9,000 hectares).

Pimlott said most of the fires started at about 10 p.m. Sunday and their causes are under investigation.

Residents of wine country were sent fleeing from their homes Monday as about 14 wind-driven wildfires burst to life across North Bay counties, wiping out scores of structures and sending the smell of smoke as far as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Residents there were directed to the Napa County Fairgrounds.

Strong winds have blown the smoke from the fires, which have burned tens of thousands of acres, throughout the Bay Area, air district officials said.

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O'Gorman and Ortega were among many who scrambled to safety as the blazes rolled through, forcing emergency evacuations from the hospital, homes and hotels.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says deputies were dispatched to help firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers with evacuations.

Forecasters said winds were expected to ease by middday Monday.

"Our neighbor called and told us the sheriff had come - we had to evacuate now", he said. Residents and businesses should evacuate immediately in the areas of Cross Creek Road, Sky Farm Drive, Saint Andrews Drive, all residences north Fountaingrove Parkway and Montecito Heights. "Certainly with day just breaking now, we are starting to see the structures that are affected", she said shortly after sunrise.

"Trees were ablaze like lights", she said.

"In a situation like this, it is really important that we be the best we can be", he said. KPIX reported flames near the Domaine Carneros winery.

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