Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated

Marie Harrington
October 10, 2017

Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties because of wildfires that the governor says are threatening thousands of homes.

"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. The morning commute on southbound Highway 101 was slower than normal as additional cars evacuating the fire were on the roadway. Guests staying at the Silverado Resort and Spa on Atlas Peak Road were evacuated during the night as the flames rushed toward the properties.

Evacutaions have been ordered in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras, Lake, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The Tubbs Fire in Napa County grew to 20,000 acres overnight.

Multiple fires broke out Sunday night as strong winds buffeted the area. But the warning will likely remain in effect because of the warm and dry conditions and the presence of wildfires.

Evacuation centers in Sonoma County have opened at the Cloverdale Cirtus Fair, Sebastopol Vets Hall and Sonoma Valley High School, according to officials.

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

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"The winds have just been outrageous here tonight, and essentially we are in a mode of saving people's lives and getting people out of harm's way at the moment", Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said.

Smoke and fire rise from the Fountaingrove Inn Hotel as it burns in Santa Rosa, Calif., Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

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. Further injuries have been reported and others are said to be missing. The Marin County Sheriff's Department tweeted that they were being overwhelmed about calls due to the smoke.

According to reports, the Hilton Sonoma Wine County on Round Barn Boulevard has been completely engulfed in flames as well as a nearby K-Mart.

The National Weather Service said widespread wind gusts between 35 mph and 50 mph were observed in the north San Francisco Bay region and isolated spots hit 70 mph.

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

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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