Wildfires roared across California on Monday, forcing evacuations and destroying homes and businesses in their paths. The biggest fires burned in the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties.
According to California authorities.
• Ten people have died and the number is expected to grow.
• More than 100 people were being treated at Napa- and Sonoma-area hospitals for fire-related injuries or health issues including burns, smoke inhalation and shortness of breath.
• An estimated 1,500 structures have been destroyed and 57,000 acres burned in eight counties.
• A wildfire in Anaheim, in Southern California, has spread to 4,000-5,000 acres and burned at least six buildings.
The fires ignited Sunday night and Monday and spread with alarming speed because of dry conditions, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said at a news conference. More than 20,000 people evacuated.
Jesus Torres of Napa said a neighbor called to tell him the fire was bearing down on his house,
“We gathered up a few of our things and our pets and headed out to our car,” said Torres “We could see the sky was turning red. … We didn’t know (about the fire) until the last second. There was smoke all over the area.”
The first known fatality occurred as a result of the Redwood Complex fire in Mendocino County, Mendocino County Sheriff spokesperson Capt. Greg Van Patten said. Cal Fire tweeted that two people died in the Atlas Fire in Napa County. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said seven people had died in Santa Rosa. No additional details were available.
“That number’s going to change,” Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said of the death toll in his jurisdiction. Officers are still searching for people to evacuate and rescue, he said, and “it’s just logical” more bodies will be found.
The devastation was significant in Santa Rosa, a town of about 175,000.
The fire left whole blocks of residences in smoking ruins and destroyed landmark buildings.
A large part of the town was evacuated, including Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Sutter Hospital.
More than 100 patients were treated at Napa and Sonoma area hospitals because of fire-related injuries and issues, said Vanessa DeGier, spokeswoman for St. Joseph Health. Santa Rosa Memorial also accepted 12 patients from the two nearby hospitals that evacuated, including expectant mothers, she said.
“Our hospitals are beginning to see patients with injuries incurred as a result of evacuation. This includes victims of car crashes and injuries from falling,” a statement from St. Joseph Health said.