Residents in northern California evacuated amid fast-spreading fires
Buildings in California’s Napa and Sonoma counties were being evacuated early on Monday morning after multiple, fast-spreading wildfires engulfed the area with thick smoke and large flames, according to fire officials and local media.
Firefighters were battling a 200-acre (80.9-hectare) wildfire in Napa County, an area nearly 70 miles north of San Francisco that is known for its vineyards, since late Sunday evening, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The “Atlas Fire” was burning in the hills above Napa County and had damaged several buildings. As of Monday morning, firefighters had made no headway containing it.
At least three other fires were burning near Calistoga, a small Napa Valley city known for its wineries, and near areas in Sonoma County, forcing evacuations from homes, shopping centers and hospitals, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office.
Videos and photos on social media showed fires raging in the hills above Napa Valley, burning their way through vegetation, buildings, roads and some parked vehicles. Reports of injuries were not immediately clear.
Officials said strong, dry winds were fanning the flames and asked residents in mandatory evacuation zones to leave immediately for the four local shelters, according to reports by NBC Bay Area.
In Sonoma County, the fire also forced all schools in Santa Rosa City to close for the day.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory warning late on Sunday until Monday at 11 a.m. PDT (1800 GMT). It said it expected winds at 20 to 35 miles (32 to 56 km) per hour and gusts of at least 45 mph.
Patients at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa were being removed early Monday morning, according to NBC Bay Area reporter Laura Garcia. “Gurneys being brought out, people in wheelchairs and walkers loaded in cars,” Garcia wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)