Thousands have evacuated.
In Northern California, a collection of fourteen quickly moving wildfires have consumed over 50,000 acres and counting, and forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes. According to Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott, the fires ignited Sunday night (October 8th) and have since destroyed over 1,500 structures, including homes, and commercial building with the largest fires located in Napa’s wine country.
"We need every resident to heed evacuation warnings and orders and move out quickly," Pimlott said. "…As of right now, with these conditions, we can't get in front of this fire and do anything about the forward progress," he added, noting that more resources to fight the flames would be arriving on Monday.
The California National Guard has since deployed three medical evacuation helicopters, six firefighting helicopters, and 100 police personnel to assist local authorities.
"These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents," said Governor Jerry Brown in an emergency proclamation issued on Monday. "These fires have damaged and continue to threaten critical infrastructure and have forced the closure of major highways and local roads."
So far, in all of the eight counties being affected by the inferno, only one casualty has been reported in Mendocino County, a result of the fire in the Redwood Valley. According to the spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Janet Upton, there have been other injuries and other individuals who have gone unaccounted for.
Two hospitals in Santa Rosa, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Hospital, have also had to evacuate all patients and personnel as a result of the blazes.
“We have safely evacuated the Santa Rosa medical center due to fires burning in the area. Many patients were transported to Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael and other local hospitals,” said spokeswoman Jenny Mack in an email. “All scheduled appointments and surgeries have been canceled for the day in Santa Rosa and the Napa medical offices.”
Currently, about 45,000 people are without power and/or cellphone service as over 300 firefighters battle the flames.