Wind-Whipped Wildfires Forcing Evacuations in Napa and Sonoma Counties

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

A series of fires fanned by high winds erupted Sunday night and Monday morning in California's wine country, charring at least 20,000 acres and sending thousands of people fleeing homes, hotels and hospitals in the middle of the night.

In video posted on Twitter specialists were seen wheeling a patient in a healing center bed out of Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa to security.

Many area roads are also closed, including Highway 37 and Highway 12. The Anaheim Fire Department said the burst was being pushed by 25 miles per hour winds.

Two fires - the Lobo Fire and the McCourtney Fire - are burning several hundred acres near Grass Valley and Nevada City have also prompted mandatory evacuations and school closures.

"Everybody in Sonoma County is spread out battling these flames, however they don't have enough assets to deal with something like this", Windsor Fire Chief Jack Piccinni told the Associated Press before Monday.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Sonoma, Napa and Uva counties on Monday. The county is working to set up shelters at fairgrounds to house animals.

The National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning for the Bay Area early Sunday, predicting gusty winds and dry conditions.

Marin County fire officials said they have sent 22 fire engines and five ambulances to assist with the blazes in Napa and Sonoma County.

"This is a life-threatening event", the Santa Rosa Police Department said in a 2 a.m. alert regarding the evacuations. The winds were expected to subside at midday. Residents and businesses should evacuate immediately in the areas of Cross Creek Road, Sky Farm Drive, Saint Andrews Drive, all residences north Fountaingrove Parkway and Montecito Heights.

"By the time I got things loaded into the auto to evacuate with, the hill behind my house looked like it was just ablaze", Nancy Christiansen said.

"I knew that she was unable to drive right now and she was by herself", explained Larsen.

"We're focusing on making evacuations and trying to keep people safe".

Firefighters assess the scene as a house burns in the Napa region of California.

An emergency evacuation center was full at the Finley Community Center in west Santa Rosa, located at 2060 W. College Ave.

Though he was rushing to escape the flames, Larsen also looked out for his neighbor who lived up the street.

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