'Armageddon': Wildfires engulf 50k acres in California's wine country

by Harriet Bell October 10, 2017, 0:26
'Armageddon': Wildfires engulf 50k acres in California's wine country

In that blaze, 23,000 acres were burned, $36 million was done in damage, 65 structures were destroyed and 11 people were injured.

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. (See photos above from Glen Ellen.) ABC 7 has a report from a resident on Sylvia Drive, between Glen Ellen and Kenwood, where he reports at least 6 to 12 homes have been destroyed.

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

The 1,000-acre Cherokee Fire in prompted evacuations in Oroville, Calif., and the 500-acre Lobo Fire threatened 7,000 to 8,000 homes in Nevada County. "Trees were on fire like torches".

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"The sun is a pale yellow, that's how thick the smoke is", he said, adding that ash is floating in the air from one of the fires, which he estimated is about 30 miles away.

CalFire said the death and injuries occurred in Mendocino County, one of several counties struggling to contain 14 major fires burning out of control.

Fourteen large-scale fires are now burning in the region, and Cal Fire has noted that the estimates with regards to the destruction are likely conservative.

The National Weather Service in San Francisco on Sunday issued a "red flag warning" for the Bay Area because of current or impending critical fire weather conditions.

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The CHP reports they have had to rescue 42 people so far because of the fires. Bridge of Faith church, at 920 Link Lane in Santa Rosa, also opened its doors to evacuees. The Chronicle will update the status of the buildings throughout the day.

An emergency evacuation center was full at the Finley Community Center in west Santa Rosa, located at 2060 W. College Ave.

Just as there is a long list of mandatory evacuations in the affected areas, there is also a growing list of wineries, including JCB Collection, DeLoach Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, St. Francis and Buena Vista Winery that are closed.

Sonoma County resident John Dean was driving home early Monday when "I looked over and saw a house on fire" along the road. Highway 101 has been shut down at Bicentennial. Some evacuation centers are already filled to capacity due to the large number of residents forced to flee. News footage showed Kaiser Permanente Hospital patients wheeled out on stretchers. He said it took firetrucks ages to arrive Monday morning.

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The local Napa Valley Register reported that complete strangers are helping each other - including one family, who were enjoying their Wine Country tour one moment, and fleeing for their lives the next, picking up another tourist along the way.

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