Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country Monday, killing at least 10 people, destroying 1,500 homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing as flames raged unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.
The flames were burning ‘at explosive rates’ because of 50 mph winds, said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Fourteen large fires were burning, spread over a 200-mile region north of San Francisco from Napa in the south to Redding in the north. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
Meanwhile, smoke and ash from Anaheim Hills, where some residents were ordered to evacuate as winds spread a dangerous brush fire, turned the sky into a ‘pumpkin orange’, sending an eerie glow above Disneyland in Anaheim.
It was unusual to have so many fires take off at the same time, fire officials said, though October has generally been the most destructive time of year for California wildfires.
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Napa County firefighter James George hoses down a fire line approaching a home Monday, October 9. 10 people have died as result of the fires so far
Fire continues to burn at Keysight Technologies Monday, October 9. The flames were burning ‘at explosive rates’ because of 50 mph winds, said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Flames burn on a hillside near Napa Road during the Nuns Fire in Sonoma, California on Monday, October 9. Fourteen large fires were burning, spread over a 200-mile region north of San Francisco from Napa in the south to Redding in the north
A chimney stands alone in a destroyed home in Santa Rosa on Monday, October 9. October has generally been the most destructive time of year for California wildfires.
The smoke from the wildfires turning the sky into a pumpkin orange. It is seen above Disneyland’s California Adventure park
At least 10 people died and two were seriously injured in the blazes that started on Sunday, fire officials said.
As he fled through the ember-strewn streets of his neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Jeff Okrepkie knew it was probably the last time he would see his home of the past five years standing.
His worst fears were confirmed Monday morning, when a friend sent him a photo of what was left: a smoldering heap of burnt metal and debris.
‘We live in the valley, where it’s concrete and strip malls and hotels and supermarkets,’ Okrepkie said. ‘The last thing you think is a forest fire is going to come and wipe us out.’
Fire spews out of a gas pipe from a burnt out home in Santa Rosa, California, on Monday, October 9
The ferocity of the flames forced authorities to focus primarily on getting people out safely, even if it meant abandoning structures to the fires
Residents go through their destroyed home as a burnt out car sits in the driveway. A total of 50,000 have been left without power
Steps lead up to a destroyed home in Santa Rosa, California on Monday, October 9. Because of strong winds and hot, dry weather, it appears the flames will continue for some time
The ferocity of the flames forced authorities to focus primarily on getting people out safely, even if it meant abandoning structures to the fire. The fire area covered more than 100 square miles (160 square kilometers) over eight counties.
Elsewhere in the state, a fire churning through canyons in hilly neighborhoods of Orange County burned multiple homes and forced residents of about 1,000 homes to evacuate.
Some of the largest blazes were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. They sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) away. What caused the blazes was not known.
More than 300 firefighters have been working to control the raging wildfire, which have destroyed 57,000 acres total leaving 50,000 people without power.
Because of strong winds and hot, dry weather, it appears the flames will continue for some time.
Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said, ‘As of right now, with these conditions, we can’t get in front of this fire and do anything about the forward progress.’
A firefighter walks near a home on fire in Santa Rosa after the entire area was evacuated
A resident rushes to save his home in Glen Ellen as an out-of-control wildfire moves through the area
The remains of the Signorello Estate winery as seen through a window in Napa
Napa resident Louis Reavis views his burned classic Oldsmobile at his home
Rudy Habibe, from Puerto Rico, and his service dog Maximus walk toward a burning building at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel where he was a guest
Photo shows a home destroyed in the wildfires that have consumed northern California’s Wine Country
Mandatory evacuations have been issued across four counties including Sonoma and Napa
Flames ride from the remains of a burned down commercial building in Santa Rosa, California
Images from Monday show fire still burning in Glen Ellen, California
Firefighters have been working to control 14 fires that broke out late Sunday night into early Monday morning
Two women hug as they watch houses burn in Santa Rosa, California
Image shows a hospital patient being evacuated in Santa Rosa as flames spread nearby
California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for three counties
Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said firefighters are concentrated on saving lives rather than battling the blaze.
Several people have been treated for burns and there is at least one fatality at this time.
Deputies were dispatched to help firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers with evacuations, going door to door to rush people to safety.
Santa Rosa, the largest city in the fire area with a population of about 175,000, was hit hard. The city lost a Kmart and other businesses and homes as the blaze shut down its schools and put a Hilton Hotel in ruins.
Firefighters worked to evacuate Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Sutter Hospital as well as senior centers in northwestern Santa Rosa over night.
Emergency lines were consumed with callers reporting smoke in the area, prompting officials to ask that the public ‘only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency.’
One woman said, ‘I drew my blinds and I just saw flames all up on the hill behind my house’.
In Santa Rosa, Ron Dodds told KTVU he was helping his uncle evacuate and said people were running red lights, and ‘there is chaos ensuing.’
‘It’s a scary time,’ Dodds added. ‘It looks like Armageddon.’
Map shows the ares in California that are experiencing active wildfires
A woman tweeted a photo of her on an airplane looking out the window to see the flames as she flew into San Francisco
Emergency lines were consumed with callers reporting smoke in the area, prompting officials to ask that the public ‘only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency’
A woman tweeted a photo of the flames in Napa saying that the area is ‘really hurting right now’
The remains of a car sit near the Fountaingrove Inn Hotel as it burns in Santa Rosa
Burned cars are seen near a structure that has been burned to the ground in Glen Ellen, California
#GOES16 satellite now detecting 4 wildfires in the North Bay. 3 fires are near the Sonoma/Napa County line while the forth fire (called the “Atlas Fire”) burns to the NE of the City of Napa. Red Flag Warning remains in effect for strong and dry north winds. #cawx
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) October 9, 2017
Flames engulf a three-car garage at a home in Napa
A Hilton Hotel has burned down along with a Kmart in Santa Rosa
Firefighters hose down a burning tree as powerful winds continue to spread the fire
Photo shows flames at an auto salvage yard that destroyed two structures and 50 to 100 cars
A number of roadways were blocked due to downed trees and fires were burning on both sides of Highways 12 and 101 as gusts reached up to 60 mph.
The Napa County Fire Department responded to flames at an auto salvage yard that destroyed two structures and reported 50 to 100 cars burning.
Businesses and structures such as the historic Fountaingrove Inn Hotel are completely burned down.
Community centers, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and other local centers have been opened as shelters to house evacuees.
A California firefighter said: ‘Our strategy right now is to get ahead of this fire and move people out of the way.’
A GoFundMe has been started to raise money for Napa and Sonoma Counties relief.
This come after a summer filled with wildfires in California. This year a total of 6,744 fires have burned 731,260 acres.
Windsor Fire Chief Jack Piccinini said that nearly every one of Sonoma County’s fire resources is being used, but it just isn’t enough
The Signorello Estate winery burns in the Napa wine region in California
This year a total of 6,744 fires have burned 731,260 acres in California