A series of massive wildfires spread through the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and at least six others early this week, destroying at least 2,000 homes, businesses, and other structures, and sending residents fleeing for their lives in the middle of the night. Strong, dry winds continue to hamper firefighters’ efforts.
At least 21 people are dead, and another 180 people are reported missing in Sonoma County alone. Local officials describe the death toll as a “fluid number,” as law enforcement officers uncover human remains in the rubble. The situation is considered one of the deadliest fires in state history.
An inferno called the Tubbs Fire has burned more than 27,000 acres in and around the city of Santa Rosa, according to the Cal Fire website. The Atlas Fire in Napa has charred an additional 25,000 acres. Residents and public officials won’t know the full extent of the damage until evacuation orders have been lifted.
These photos show the devastating impact of the fires.
We will continue to update this story throughout the day.
A series of wildfires ravaging pieces of Northern California's wine country is being called one of the worst firestorms in state history. The largest blazes hit Napa and Sonoma.
There is the city of Napa and the county of Napa, considered the holy grail of wine country. It's home to more than 400 wineries, with many packed side by side along State Route 29.
On Monday, videos and photos on social media showed fires burning out of control in Sonoma and Napa, moving through vegetation, buildings, roads, and mobile-home parks.
Emergency shelters are popping up across Northern California. Jack Tibbetts, vice-mayor of Santa Rosa, told Business Insider that the shelters are reaching capacity quickly.
There are nearly two dozens shelters for fire evacuees in Sonoma County alone. Tibbetts stressed that safety is the number one priority for local officials and public servants.
'I think local officials' objective is evacuating everybody, more so than it is about protection of property,' Tibbetts, who fled his home in Santa Rosa around 3 a.m. on Monday, said.
As many as seven fires ignited on Sunday night and grew as hot, dry winds -- with gusts of up to 70 miles per hour -- carried the flames from ridge top to ridge top in Napa.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
'Literally, in a two-to-three-hour period, we had seven different counties affected by fire all at once,' Deputy Chief Bret Gouvea of Cal Fire told the San Francisco Chronicle. 'And not just ordinary fires. Because of those wind conditions, these fires got out of hand very quickly.'
Residents speaking to local media outlets described 'fleeing for their lives in the middle of the night from the fire, in cars or on foot.' Many left with only the clothes on their backs.
In Napa, guests of the Silverado Resort and Spa were sleeping when an order to evacuate came on over the loudspeaker. The power went out as the flames crept closer.
'It was surreal,' Chris Thomas, who arrived at the resort on Sunday with his wife for a wine-tasting trip, told the San Francisco Chronicle. 'When I started loading stuff into the car it was a hell-storm of smoke and ash. There were 30 to 40 mph winds. I couldn't even breathe.'
The PGA Tour's season-opening event ended Sunday at the resort.
'The fire has burned all the way through the Silverado Country Club,' Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said during a press conference on Monday. Here's the aftermath.
Two of the victims who were identified on Tuesday, Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife Sarah, 98, wed 75 years ago. They died trying to escape their home at the Silverado Resort.
A cluster of single-family homes in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighbourhood has largely turned to ash. About 8,000 people lived in Coffey Park and a neighbouring subdivision.
Flames climbed the ivy-covered walls of the Signorello Estate winery, located on the Silverado Trail, until it eventually collapsed. It was one of a handful of wineries that burned.
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown of California issued a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties -- a declaration that called the California National Guard into action.
It alarmed some residents, who suspected the flames reached much closer to San Francisco. Many posted on social media, and others called emergency responders.
Guys is there a fire in SF right now? Smells like there's a bonfire outside my window.
-- sigrid (@sigrid) October 9, 2017
Everyone in SF is putting on clothes and walking around to see if their home is on fire. Fire in Napa, but smell so bad here it woke me.
-- Deborah Underwood (@underwoodwriter) October 9, 2017
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
10f2-If your smelling smoke in SF it is more likely due to the Napa Fire and the Strong winds. We have NO fires in SF at this moment pic.twitter.com/9YjmRKcxBr
-- San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) October 9, 2017
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service told The Mercury News that strong winds are responsible for blowing the smell of smoke from the north to the Bay Area.
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