Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated

Pauline Gross
October 10, 2017

Firefighters assess the scene as a house burns in the Napa region of California.

In Northern California, firefighters are battling blazes that have destroyed at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings.

Windsor Fire Chief Jack Piccinini said that almost every one of Sonoma County's fire resources is being used, but it is not enough.

"It was an inferno like you've never seen before", Marian Williams, who escaped through flames before dawn near the town of Kenwood in Sonoma County, told AP.

"These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents", said the governor.

Smoke was thick in San Francisco, 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of the Sonoma County fire.

All told, fires in Northern California have so far burned a minimum of 45,000 acres. He was one of hundreds of evacuees who streamed into a 24-hour Safeway market overnight, while authorities set up an official evacuation center. The most similar event was the 2015 Valley Fire, which was centered in and around the Lake County town of Middletown, which killed four people and destroyed almost 2,000 structures.

At 4:30 a.m., Napa County opened a second Napa-area evacuation center, the Napa Valley College gym, after the shelter at CrossWalk Church on First Street filled with evacuees.

Highway 37 has reopened in both directions between Novato and Vallejo after being closed early Monday morning because of a vegetation fire, California Highway Patrol officials said. She had fled so fast that she hadn't put on her shoes.

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If O'Gorman hadn't been coming home from work to wake her family, "we would have been in the house trapped", she said. Emergency lines were inundated with callers reporting smoke in the area.

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

A firefighter covers his eyes as he walks past a burning hillside in Santa Rosa.

Wildfires are engulfing the Napa Valley neighborhood of Calistoga, California, on October 9, 2017.

"Around 3 a.m., there was a lot slamming of doors, shouting, auto engines revving, so, I get up and go downstairs", Jake Palmgren, a 20-year-old custom crush worker told Wine Enthusiast.

DeLanoy said as she left, she encountered an emergency vehicle that transported her to Silverado Resort and Spa, which was also being evacuated.

"As of right now, with these conditions, we can't get in front of this fire and do anything about the forward progress", he said. "Hopefully insurance takes care of it".

Forecasters said winds will remain strong on Monday morning but are expected to ease by midday.

Other reports by GizPress

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