by Allison Payne 10/11/17
Northern California wild fires broke out late Sunday night that consumed up to 115,000 acres of land, forcing 20,000 people to evacuate, and killing 17 people. 50 mph winds and dry conditions escalated the flames, leading to “extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions,” said Cal Fire. New evacuations were ordered on Tuesday as flames scorch California’s famous wine country.
The worst fires were in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties. 11 out of the 17 deaths were in Sonoma County. Around 2,000 homes and businesses are destroyed, and hospitals are currently treating more than 100 people for fire-related injuries and health issues. In Santa Rosa, the flames leveled neighborhoods and left cars and homes to piles of ash and rubble. Approximately 5,000 people are staying in Sonoma County shelters.
Officials say it is too early to tell if any of the fires were started by humans, but Ken Pimlott told reporters that “All of these fires are under investigation.” Sonoma County spokesman Scott Alonso urges people in the area of fires to stay indoors due to the smoke.
The biggest fire was the Tubbs fire, which stretched from Santa Rosa to the Calistoga area in Napa County. The blaze destroyed at least 571 structures, ranking as one of the top 15 most destructive fires in California history.
California Governor Jerry Brown issued on Monday emergency proclamations for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butta, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Solano, and Orange counties. The White House said that President Trump has signed a major disaster declaration and fire management assistance grants for the state.