"Imagine a wind-whipped fire burning at explosive rates". Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, as wildfires in the state's wine country exploded into some of its worst in history.
Mandatory evacuations were in place for multiple areas in Napa County, where at least two other blazes on top of the Tubbs Fire are burning.
Belia Ramos, chairwoman of the Napa County Board of Supervisors, said officials did not yet have a count on how many properties were affected, either by the fire directly or by evacuations.
The Atlas Fire, initially reported at 9:20 p.m. Sunday, had burned between 8,000 to 12,000 acres south of Lake Berryessa and off of Atlas Peak Road, according to Cal Fire. Petaluma Fire Department said that three engines had been sent to Santa Rosa to assist with the blaze and extra personnel was called in to protect Petaluma.
The fires have been burning in northern Sonoma County since early Monday morning.
Patients at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa were being removed early Monday morning, according to NBC Bay Area reporter Laura Garcia.
Evacuation centers open for North Bay fire victimsFires in Mendocino County have triggered highway closures.
"These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents", said the governor. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said hotels were evacuated and shelters were set up. The fire is believed to have begun late Sunday night near Highway 128 in Napa County and progressed towards Santa Rosa city limits. Gusts were predicted to be in the 30 miles per hour range in the area of the fire. "I've gone out to get hold of news, which hasn't been much of a help", Palmgren said, as thick smoke surrounded his grandparents' Sonoma Valley home. Another hospital in the area, Sutter Hospital, was also placed under evacuation orders.
"I mean blazing, falling down on fire", he said.
DeLanoy said as she left, she encountered an emergency vehicle that transported her to Silverado Resort and Spa, which was also being evacuated.
The local Napa Valley Register reported that complete strangers are helping each other - including one family, who were enjoying their Wine Country tour one moment, and fleeing for their lives the next, picking up another tourist along the way. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Department issued a notice to residents to expect a strong smell of smoke from the fires.