Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated

Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated

In Napa County, evacuations were underway as firefighters battled blazes.

In recent memory, there hasn't been anything like the wildfires now burning in these relatively densely populated areas of the North Bay, and several cities and towns are likely to be assessing damages for weeks to come, and rebuilding for years to come, including Santa Rosa and Glen Ellen. There were also fires in Lake and Mendecino counties.

Santa Rosa, the largest city in the fire area with a population of about 175,000, was hit hard. Homes surrounding Cardinal Newman High School were burned, although the high school survived.

Maureen McGowan was house-sitting for a brother near Kenwood, and said both of the homes on his property were on fire when she left.

Authorities were evacuating Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital at 1:30 a.m. Traffic was backed up at multiple intersections in the Larkfield and Wikiup areas.

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.

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The National Weather Service said winds of 35 miles per hour to 50 miles per hour had occurred Sunday night. The blaze has also crossed the 101 Freeway in Santa Rosa, igniting structures west of the freeway. Cars filled the parking lot shortly before 3 a.m. Monday and traffic was stopped trying to turn into the center. The nearest shelter is the Santa Rosa Vets Memorial Building at 1351 Maple Ave.

Evacuation centers were set up at the Napa County Fairgrounds at 1435 North Oak St.in Calistoga and CrossWalk Community Church at 2590 First St.in Napa.

An obligatory clearing was requested Monday morning in Sonoma County, too other influenced provinces. The Atlas Peak fire was the largest, quickly growing to more than 200 acres near Napa, and a fire near Calistoga had burned several buildings and prompted mandatory evacuations along several roads.

Similar wildfires rages across the area in August 2015, when 12,000 residents were evacuated and 60,000 acres went up in flames, after drought conditions and winds left firefighters struggling to contain the outbreaks. Please stay away from area.

The emergency services have asked residents who smell smoke not to call them unless they actually see flames as they are being "overwhelmed by 911 calls".

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