SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters battled about 10 expanding wind-whipped fires across northern California's wine country early Monday morning as the flames destroyed homes, a historic barn and forced drivers to abandon their cars in the streets as they rushed to avoid the flames.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered after blazes broke out late Sunday across four counties as strong winds buffeted the area, the Press Democrat reported Monday.
The fires currently burning are:
- Lobo Fire: Nevada County, 500 acres
- Cherokee Fire: Butte County, 1,000 acres
- Cascade Fire: Yuba County, 5,000 acres
- Tubbs Fire: Napa County, 20,000 acres
- Atlas Fire: Napa County, 5,000 acres
- McCourtney Fire: Nevada County, 150 acres
- Nuns Fire: Sonoma County, 300 acres
- Patrick Fire: Napa County, 100 acres
- Point Fire: Calaveras County. 150 acres
- Potter Fire: Mendocino County, 1,500 acres
- Redwood Fire: Mendocino County, 4,500 acres
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties because oe the effects of the fires, including the 20,000-acre Atlas fire, in the areas. The fires have damaged infrastructure, threatened thousands of homes and forced hundreds of evacuations.
Fire officials said that at least 1,500 homes and buildings were destroyed and about 20,000 people have been evacuated.
Authorities have implemented forced evacuations in several rural neighborhoods, and worked to clear out hospitals and senior centers in northwestern Santa Rosa.
Deputies were dispatched to help firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers with evacuations, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.
Windsor Fire Chief Jack Piccinini said that nearly every one of Sonoma County's fire resources is being used, but it is not enough.
"Everyone in Sonoma County is spread out fighting these fires, but they don't have enough resources to handle something like this. The only thing we can do is hope the wind will come down," he said.
There is no immediate information on injuries or fatalities.
Emergency lines were inundated 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."
Downed trees were blocking parts of one rural road and fires were burning on both sides of Highway 12 as gusts reached up to 60 mph (96.5 kph).
Cal Fire reported that firefighters were battling a 200-acre (80.9-hectare) fire in Napa County.
Community centers, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and other local centers have been opened for evacuees.
Evacutaions have been ordered in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras, Lake, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
UPDATE: Evacuation areas and evacuation advisory for Nevada county fires pic.twitter.com/d54SCYqOFO— Michelle Apon (@MichelleApon) October 9, 2017
Napa County Sheriff's officials said the Napa Valley College gym is open as an evacuation center. The Crosswalk Church was opened earlier as a evacuation center, but it's at capacity.
Current evacuation centers for the wildfire regions are listed below:
Butte County, Cherokee Fire: Church of the Nazarene on Monte Vista in Oroville (12 evacuees)
Yuba County, Cascade Fire: Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City (40 evacuees)
Nevada County, McCourtney Fire: First Baptist Church (30 evacuees)
Vegetation Fire, Grass Valley: The First Baptist Church, 1866 Ridge Rd. in Grass Valley (Opening by 3pm)
Calaveras County, Higden Spinks Fire: Sierra Baptist Church in Pioneer (22 evacuees); Covenant Church in Westpoint (33 evacuees)
Grass Valley School District officials said the following schools will be closed for the day:
- Bell Hill Academy
- Margaret G. Scotten School
- Lyman Gilmore Middle School
- Grass Valley Charter School
- Our Kids’ Place Preschool
- Grass Valley Little Learners
- Before and After School Program
- PIP Program
Police officials also confirmed that Nevada City Schools will be closed for the day as well.
To check for road conditions and closures, you can visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov