Huge fires sweep through Northern California as wind keeps churning

Napa County fire. Image courtesy of Craig Philpott @CphilpottCraig on Oct. 9 2017

Wildfires swept through California's wine country on Monday, forcing some 20,000 residents to flee, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and prompting at least two hospitals to evacuate, state officials said. The fire is believed to have begun late Sunday night near Highway 128 in Napa County and progressed toward Santa Rosa city limits. News footage showed Kaiser Permanente Hospital patients wheeled out on stretchers.

The Napa County Sheriff's Office said all residents from Atlas Peak Road east to Circle Oaks near Highway 121 should leave their homes.

There will be no regularly scheduled Santa Rosa CityBus service Monday as a result of the wildfires in the North Bay, Santa Rosa fire officials said.

Evacuation orders in Napa County include the Wooden Valley area, Montecito area, Old Sonoma Road to Buhman Avenue, Dealy Lane, Henry Road, Coombsville Road and Wild Horse Valley Road. The boss said firefighters are now concentrating their endeavors on sparing lives as opposed to attempting to stop the bursts.

Multiple fires burning in densely populated areas at night propelled by winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour severely strained firefighters, McGuire said.

The "Atlas" fire, meanwhile, had burned through an additional 25,000 acres in the hills above Napa County.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Department wrote, "Mass evacuations are taking place...911 systems are inundated".

"There are fires burning in a handful of areas, but Napa is the primary focus because it started there first", Jourdan said.

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Residents of wine country were sent fleeing from their homes Monday as about 14 wind-driven wildfires burst to life across North Bay counties, wiping out scores of structures and sending the smell of smoke as far as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Shelters have been set up in the affected counties.

In Sonoma County, authorities were also responding to multiple wind-driven fires. Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was also safely evacuated.

"By the time I got things loaded into the vehicle to evacuate with, the hill behind my house looked like it was just ablaze", Nancy Christiansen said.

"Gusty north to northeasterly winds will continue into early Monday afternoon across north-central California, especially in the mountains and down into the foothills", Root said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Trees burn behind houses in a residential area in Santa Rosa, Calif., Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

Her neighbor later called her and said her house burned down.

"We're focusing on making evacuations and trying to keep people safe.

That's when we said, 'It's time to go, '" Regan said.

A Hilton Hotel was among the buildings that were left in ruins.

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