State of Emergency in California as Wildfires Rage

Evacuations in Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2017 1:25 PM CDT
Hundreds Evacuated From Hospitals as Calif. Wildfires Rage
Trees burn behind houses in a residential area in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties because of wildfires he says are threatening thousands of homes. Brown issued the declaration on Monday, as multiple fires forced people to evacuate their homes, the AP reports. Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said more than 50 structures had been destroyed, but there were no reports of injuries or deaths; he added the fires had burned more than 68 square miles. Meanwhile, more than 200 people were hurriedly evacuated from two Santa Rosa hospitals. A Sutter Health rep said that by 9am local time, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital had finished evacuating the last of more than 80 patients and that the hospital was sending staff home. A rep for Kaiser Permanente said about 130 patients were evacuated from the Santa Rosa Medical Center Monday.

Residents in Napa and Sonoma counties describe their terrifying middle-of-the-night scrambles to flee from the raging wildfires. Marian Williams says she caravanned with neighbors through flames early Monday as one of several fires reached the vineyards and ridges of the small Sonoma County town of Kenwood. Williams says she could feel the heat as trees turned into torches. Terri Ruttledge, who lives on Adobe Canyon Road in Kenwood, made it out just before the fire burned her house. She says she looked out her window and saw the mountain across the road on fire. When she couldn't reach 911, she quickly loaded up the car and fled. The fires are being fanned by strong, dry, and gusty winds raking the region.

(More wildfires stories.)

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