Northern California's wine country was on fire again today as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, prompting evacuation orders involving more than 50,000 people.
Residents of the Oakmont Gardens assisted living home in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.
Flames also engulfed the Chateau Boswell Winery north of St Helena. The Adventist Health St Helena hospital suspended care and transferred all patients elsewhere, according to a statement on its website.
"We just don't have words," state Senator Mike McGuire, a Democrat who represents Healdsburg, told KTVU-2 in Oakland. "It's an incredibly trying and emotional time right now."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The fires that began yesterday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country north of San Francisco came on the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people.
The latest inferno began with the Glass Fire and two subsequent fires merged with it, burning 44 sq km, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
More than 53,000 people in Sonoma and Napa counties were under evacuation orders, said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with Cal Fire. Many more have been warned that they may have to flee.
Paul Lowenthal, another Cal Fire spokesman, said more than 13,000 homes were threatened in Santa Rosa alone.
The causes of the new fires were under investigation.
So far this year, more than 8100 California wildfires have scorched 14,970 sq km, destroyed more than 7000 buildings and killed 26 people.