Fires roar across Napa, Sonoma, emergency declared

Alyssa O'Gorman and her family fled their home in the nick of time, dodging the wind-driven wildfires roaring across northern California early Monday. Kaiser Permanente hospital was evacuated. "These fires have damaged and continue to threaten critical infrastructure and have forced the closure of major highways and local roads".

The fire has crossed Highway 101 in Santa Rosa and ignited structures west of the freeway in the area of Kohl's Department Store on Hopper Avenue.

In Napa County, guests of the Silverado Resort and Spa on Atlas Peak Road said they had been hurriedly evacuated as flames approached. He said firefighters are concentrating on saving lives rather than battling the blazes.

"The gusts are very, very - they're tremendous and it's what makes this fire unpredictable".

A 200-acre fire near Atlas Peak in the hills above Napa led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

"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. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox reported several injuries.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Sonoma, Napa and Uva counties on Monday. Residents there were directed to the Napa County Fairgrounds.

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O'Gorman and Ortega were among many who scrambled to safety as the blazes rolled through, forcing emergency evacuations from the hospital, homes and hotels.

Wind-whipped fires burned into parts of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley early Monday morning, destroying multiple homes in neighborhoods to the north and southeast of Santa Rosa.

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

Brown said in his statement that the multiple fires "threatened thousands of homes". Residents and businesses in the area were advised to evacuate immediately.

Butte County's LaPorte Fire, which began as the Cascade Fire in Yuba County, had scorched 3,000 acres as of 6:19 a.m. Monday. "We are not on scene yet and haven't been able to determine the best evacuation route". "Certainly with day just breaking now, we are starting to see the structures that are affected", she said shortly after sunrise.

"I mean blazing, falling down on fire", he said.

Flames were also burning near the Domaine Carneros winery.

  • Sonia Alvarado