Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated


Torres home was on Wild Horse Valley Road and the Atlas Peak fire was roaring toward his neighborhood. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Sonoma, Napa and Yuba counties because of multiple fires in the areas. The city lost unknown numbers of businesses and homes as the blaze shut down schools and forced patients at two city hospitals to evacuate.

Cal Fire said the Atlas Fire, south of Napa County's Lake Berryessa, had spread across 25,000 acres. With so many fires, residents of Sonoma County struggled to figure out what roads to take, finding downed trees or flames blocking some routes.

Fountaingrove Inn, Santa Rosa: The 124 room luxury hotel, which was visible from Highway 101, "fell victim to the devastating fire in Sonoma County", according to a message general manager Justin Hayman posted on Facebook.

Up to 10 separate fires threaten Sonoma County, where officials evacuated Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health hospitals.

Several evacuation centers have been set up, but many have already reached capacity.

Firefighters were battling a 200-acre (80.9-hectare) wildfire in Napa County, an area almost 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. Evacuations have been ordered along East Road, West Road, Tomki Road to Canyon Road in Willits, Golden Rule subdivision and Reeves Canyon.

Cal Fire has ordered 24 strike teams from as far away as San Francisco to try to deal with this unprecedented situation, Ramos said.

"Probably many homes and businesses, in the outskirts of Santa Rosa and the city itself", she said.

The wind-driven fires have created hazardous air in parts of both counties, by sending burning embers across a large area.

"Fire has burned all the way through the Silverado Country Club area", Biermann said in a reference to the Silverado Resort and Spa.

Residents throughout the Bay Area could smell the smoke blanketing the valley.

"Very, very volatile fire conditions", McLean said.

Napa Mayor Jill Techel says authorities had to evacuate Montecito Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue in the city. KPIX reported flames near the Domaine Carneros winery.

Smoke from the multiple fires may create a health hazard, Napa County warned.

Shelters were opened at the Calistoga Fairgrounds and a Napa church, and firefighters said their primary focus is on saving lives before fighting the flames.