Starting late Sunday night, “wind-whipped” fires erupted in Northern California, reported AP. Thousands of homes are threatened in Santa Rosa, CA, and people are subject to a mandatory evacuation.
The evacuations come after multiple fires broke out Sunday night as a result of the strong winds. People, who were unable to get through on emergency lines to report the smoke, tried to leave their homes.
However, some areas were blocked by downed trees. On each side of Highway 12, fires burned and wind gusts reached up to 60 mph.
There was also a fire in Napa County. Firefighters battled that 200-acre fire.
AP recounts the harrowing stories of residents in Napa and Sonoma counties, who fled the fire in the middle of the night. One woman, Terri Ruttledge, who lives on Adobe Canyon in Kenwood, barely evacuated before her home burned.
“Ruttledge says she looked out her window and saw the mountain across the road on fire. When she couldn’t reach 911, she quickly loaded up the car and fled,” wrote AP.
“It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before,” another woman told the Associated Press. “Trees were on fire like torches."
Another person, a Napa Valley visitor named Chris Thomas added, “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,” he said. “It went from being an annoying evacuation to something really scary.”
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for much of the area. However, officials are unsure how many people have been impacted by the fire, which covers 20,000 acres.
Napa County Board of Supervisors chairwoman Belia Ramos told AP that the "wind gusts were tremendous and made the fire unpredictable."
Residents aren’t the only ones who have been forced to evacuate. Two hospitals in Santa Rosa also had to move their patients.
More than 200 people were evacuated from those hospitals. By 9 a.m. Monday morning, those patients had been evacuated from Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Kaiser Permanente. The hospitals are now closed and have sent their staff home.
After the decimation of the previous evening, the governor of California, Jerry Brown, declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties. Brown, of course, is concerned about the wildfires that are threatening thousands of homes.
Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann described the destruction so far. He said that more than 50 structures have been destroyed and 68 square miles have burned. The LA Times reported that altogether 1,500 structures have burned in Northern California. Thankfully, there haven’t been any reports of injuries or deaths.
Please pray for the residents of Northern California as they battle this fire.
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