Last update: 12:30 p.m.
Multiple large and fast-moving wildfires burning in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties have prompted mass evacuations, burned hundreds of homes and businesses, and filled the skies of nearby areas like Marin County, San Francisco, and Oakland with heavy smoke from the blazes. The extent of injuries remains unclear as fire crews race to contain fires in multiple jurisdictions across wine country.
Cal Fire appears to still be naming the fires as they break out and spread, and little information is available as daylight arrives, however the largest of the blazes whose embers and sparks may have caused the other smaller fires to ignite due to extremely high winds is being called the Tubbs Fire and has already burned 20,000 acres off of Highway 128 near Calistoga. A second Napa County fire dubbed the Atlas Fire is burning south of Lake Berryessa off of Atlas Peak Road, and had reached 5,000 acres as of an hour ago.
Another blaze, dubbed the Nuns Fire, is burning just north of Glen Ellen, and reports on social media suggest parts of Glen Ellen are already either burned or threatened. The Chronicle reports that multiple farms, vineyards, and ranches in the area have been evacuated and are likely devastated. Here are some of the first photos to arrive of homes on fire or already destroyed in Glen Ellen.
As one witness described the early morning scene in Santa Rosa to KTVU, "People are running red lights, there is chaos ensuing... It looks like Armageddon."
Additionally, multiple other fires are burning in Nevada, Butte, and Yuba counties, with CBS 13 in Sacramento reporting that 7,000 to 8,000 homes are threatened there.
PG&E power lines are already being pointed to as a potential culprit in causing the fires, because as the Chronicle reports, power lines can give off sparks even if they are not downed, due to high winds and contact with trees.
In total, there are now "at least" 14 wildfires burning across Northern California, as the Chronicle reports, and one fire-related death has been reported thus far, in Mendocino County. At least 1,500 structures have been destroyed so far by the different fires, putting one or more of these events on track to be among the most devastating in state history.
The SF Chronicle reports as of Monday morning the worst fire still appears to be the Tubbs Fire in northern Santa Rosa, where "scores of homes were lost in the Fountaingrove area east of Highway 101 and in the Journey’s End Mobile Home Park on Mendocino Avenue." In addition the fire has so far claimed claimed the Fountaingrove Inn, the "Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, a Kmart store, a McDonald’s, an Arby’s, an Applebee’s and a Mountain Mike’s Pizza."
According to a National Weather Service tweet from 3:45 a.m. Monday, "strong and gusty northeast winds" are both fanning the flames. Those weather conditions are expected to continue "through at least mid morning."
#GOES16 satellite update: around 3 am Monday morning. Satellite continues to show multiple wild fires across the North Bay, and a new fire start has been detected just to the east of Cloverdale. Strong and gusty northeast winds will continue through at least mid morning. #cawx pic.twitter.com/jufkkU38wZ— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) October 9, 2017
It's not everyday you wake up in SF to the smell of your parents house on fire in Santa Rosa. Rosa will never be the same.— Sedge (@SeanHedgpeth) October 9, 2017
Breaking-cal fire just told me fire is 0% contained. Definitely injuries. Not hearing of deaths. 20k acres pic.twitter.com/Y2uHMu4UGs— Will Tran (@KRON4WTran) October 9, 2017
According to a Chron report from Monday morning, "The series of fires began to ignite Sunday and multiplied as the night went on, hitting Napa and Sonoma the hardest but affecting at least five counties."
As of 6:45 a.m., the fires had destroyed "an untold number of homes and businesses, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and shutting down major roadways," they report. They have an ongoing list of the areas that have been evacuated here.
There was no immediate estimate of the damage or the extent of injuries — nor an explanation for the sheer number of fires — but structures were burning in both counties, according to authorities and witnesses. One blaze in and around northern Santa Rosa [along the Napa County line] had burned at least 20,000 acres by 6 a.m., threatening shopping centers, schools and the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.
Power outages were widespread. People flocked to gas stations in cities that were safe from the conflagrations, to fuel up and buy water and other supplies. Evacuation centers were set up, then quickly filled, forcing more to open.
Well Napa just burst into flames pic.twitter.com/q7ziPJ41wb— Kendall Landry (@kendall_landry) October 9, 2017
Both the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa and the Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital were evacuated as the flames approached. According to CBS 5, patients from those facilities "were being taken to Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in another area of Santa Rosa and the Kaiser Hospital in San Rafael."
Critically ill patient being evacuated right now from Kaiser. Just loaded into an SUV. “Unlike anything I’ve ever seen” Thom Jensen pic.twitter.com/9VYiQxPJPa— Vicky Nguyen (@VickyNguyenTV) October 9, 2017
Holy fuck— laura W (@lauowolf) October 9, 2017
They are evacuating Kaiser in Santa Rosa
I mean, staff are taking their own cars and driving off with patients
Fire is right there
As of 6 a.m., this is the list of shelters for residents evacuated or displaced in the fires:
- Santa Rosa Veterans Building
- Finley Community Center
- Petaluma Community Center
- Sebastopol Community Cultural Center
- Veterans' Memorial Building in Sebastopol
- Cloverdale Citrus Fair
- Sonoma Valley High School
- Sebastopol Vets Hall
- Elsie Allen High School
- Analy High School
- Cook Middle School
- Crosswalk Community Church in Napa
- Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga
- New Life Christian Fellowship Church in Petaluma
- Napa Valley College Gym
- Solano Community College on Suisan Valley Road in Fairfield
- Lawrence Cook Middle School on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa
- Petaluma Community Center at 320 N. McDowell Boulevard
According to ABC 7, the "Napa County Animal Shelter at 942 Hartle Ct will shelter dogs, cats, rabbits and other household animals" during the emergency. Large animals can be taken to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds at 1350 Bennett Valley Road. Access the Fairgrounds via Gate 7 on Aston Ave.
All public schools in the areas near the fires have cancelled classes for the day, officials say, including all the schools in Napa and Sonoma County, as well as in Petaluma.
As the fires burned, smoke from the blazes traveled south to Marin County, San Francisco and Oakland, where residents were awakened early Monday by the strong smell from the distant flames.
Officials were quick to confirm that the fires were not local ones, but from the north. Residents are being urged to close windows to lower the risk of smoke indoors.
10f2-If your smelling smoke in SF it is more likely due to the Napa Fire and the Strong winds. We have NO fires in SF at this moment pic.twitter.com/9YjmRKcxBr— San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) October 9, 2017
2of2- if in doubt or unsure, call 911 and we will check the area. Close your windows and doors to help reduce smoke in your home. https://t.co/ATaTIsPwkR— San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) October 9, 2017
In a message sent at 5:55 Monday morning, Alert SF noted that "Due to fires in the North Bay, air quality may be diminished today. Close windows/doors and limit outdoor activities. Keep pets inside for protection."
"May be" is, perhaps, conservative: In the Outer Sunset this morning, ash swirls through the air and smoke hangs so heavily you might think it's our trademark fog. It's not. Residents also reported heavy ash and soot covering their cars and blowing into their windows, with many longtime residents like the ones I spoke to as I was in line for coffee this morning comparing it to the Oakland firestorm of 1991.
Where are you? I woke up in sf with soot blown into tub and on windowsills!— Molly McCrea (@MMcCreaCBS) October 9, 2017
Drift smoke and falling ash in Marin is from fires to the North in Sonoma and Napa Counties. If you see flames or a fire please call 911.— Marin County Fire (@marincountyfire) October 9, 2017
SMC Alert from San Mateo County:— Hillsborough PD (CA) (@HillsboroughPD) October 9, 2017
Please expect a strong smell of smoke due to the Napa fire. https://t.co/8PVlx94wFf
Bay Area residents as far south as San Jose are reporting heavy smoke smells in the air.
#napafire Smoke has reached clear down to south San Jose/Almaden Valley area— Saryn Kirk (@saryn1105) October 9, 2017
Anyone else smelling this fire smoke in south San Jose? I’m worried.. the smoke smell is getting stronger. 😩— ‘nah 💀 (@MissusSinister) October 9, 2017
The smoke and ash isn't just messy and gross, the Chron reports, as particulates from the smoke "are especially of concern to children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory problems."
“We’re likely to see smoke impacts throughout the area,” Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Kristine Roselius told the Chron, saying that with elevated levels of particulates in the air across the Bay Area as a result of the fires, "people should avoid outdoor activities Monday and otherwise limit their exposure to the smoke as best they can."
Emergency officials in Marin County say they are being "overwhelmed" by calls to 911 reporting smoke and ash. They ask that callers only report fires if they see actual flames.
Calls are overwhelming our 911 center due to Napa Co. 🔥 & winds are pushing smoke into Marin. Please call 911 only if you see 🔥 near your 🏘— Marin County Sheriff (@MarinSheriff) October 9, 2017
According to ABC 7, "Wind was gusting in the areas up to 50 mph." That, along with dry conditions in the area are "making it difficult to fight the fire." The Chron quotes an NWS forecaster as saying that "relative humidity values 'were in the single digits,'" adding to the dry weather.
So Sonoma county is on fire. I took these from my old high school a mile from my house. I can see and smell smoke. And it's terrifying to be so close to multiple fires all in different directions. pic.twitter.com/CVW9XRvezj— 💀🎃👻.alicia.💖💛💙 (@_TheSheShe) October 9, 2017