Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Wind-Driven Fires Burn California Wine Country

A fire burns in Napa County late Sunday Oct. 8 2017 Sudden flurry of wildfires prompts urban evacuations
Andrew Cummings | 10 October, 2017, 00:35

Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California early Monday, sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. In that blaze, 23,000 acres were burned, $36 million was done in damage, 65 structures were destroyed and 11 people were injured.

"There are fires burning in a handful of areas, but Napa is the primary focus because it started there first", Jourdan said. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, as wildfires in the state's wine country exploded into some of its worst in history.

With the flames sweeping through entire communities, some area hospitals have been evacuated.

The fires had stretched Sonoma and Napa counties firefighting resources to the breaking point.

A number of areas in Sonoma County are under evacuation orders including the region west of Highway 101 in the Piner Road area to downtown Forestville, Cloverdale KOA, Palomino Road, Vanoni Road to Gill Creek Road, Arnold Drive to the State Hospital and west of Jack London State Park, according to officials. One fire-related death has been reported in Mendocino County, but the speed of these blazes suggests there are more to come.

Marin County sent 22 fire engines, five ambulances, and dozens of crew to assist the Napa and Sonoma firefighters.

Strong northern winds spread the Cherokee Fire in Oroville from 80 to 800 acres in just two hours Sunday night, according to tweets from Cal Fire - Butte County.

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AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said dry and warm winds will continue to fan wildfires across the region before diminishing Monday evening.

Centers for the evacuated have opened at Crosswalk Church, Napa Valley College Gym and the Napa County Fairgrounds, officials say.

The Atlas Peak fire was the largest, quickly growing to more than 200 acres near Napa. For those with such conditions, fires deal a harsh mix of smoke, dust and other particulates in the air. The fire is believed to have begun late Sunday night near Highway 128 in Napa County and progressed towards Santa Rosa city limits.

Business owner Andy Lahiji stood before a burned-out warehouse where he said he had lost his inventory of furniture and other property.

Hilton Sonoma Wine County, Santa Rosa: The 250-room hotel, set on 13 acres, was destroyed - "burned to the ground" - according to multiple eyewitness reports and video footage.

The emergency services have asked residents who smell smoke not to call them unless they actually see flames as they are being "overwhelmed by 911 calls".

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