Fire Chief: At Least 1500 Buildings Destroyed in California Wildfires

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

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

More than a dozen blazes have erupted in the northern half of the state, officials said, leaving hundreds of homes and other structures damaged or destroyed as the state's dreaded fire season kick into high gear, with little relief in sight.

The wildfire is among several fires, spanned over two counties (Napa and Sonoma), that have already destroyed tens of thousands of acres, including many homes and businesses.

The fast-moving fires have burned at least 44,000 acres, claiming at least one life, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to issue an emergency proclamation for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties Monday.

"It was an inferno like you've never seen before", said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood. Santa Rosa's historic round barn, at the gateway to Fountaingrove, was also burned, as was the Journey's End mobile home park to the north of Kaiser Permanente's hospital in Santa Rosa and multiple homes along Hopper Lane.

Biermann says the fires had burned more than 68 square miles (176sq. kilometers).

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"Everyone in Sonoma County is spread out fighting these fires, but they don't have enough resources to handle something like this".

Napa officials said three evacuation centers had been opened - at the Crosswalk Community Church on First Street and at the Napa County Fairgrounds.

Alyssa O'Gorman and her family fled their home in the nick of time. Mandatory evacuations are in place for Partrick Rd in Napa County. "We are not prepared to start counting", she said shortly after sunrise. Emergency lines were inundated with callers reporting smoke in the area. "Literally it's burning into the city of Santa Rosa. burning box stores", Pimlott said.

Business owner Andy Lahiji stood before a burned-out warehouse where he said he had lost his inventory of furniture and other property.

Flames from a wildfire burn Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa.

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"The main thing we can do is trust the breeze will descend", he said.

"My boyfriend went walking just for fun", DeLanoy said, "and I got a text message saying, 'Get out of there now".

Elderly people, children and those with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to the smoky conditions and should take extra precautions, air district officials said.

Forecasters said winds will remain strong on Monday morning but are expected to ease by midday.

Patients at a healing center in Sonoma County must be cleared as the blasts seethed on.

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