Historic wildfires rip through California wine country

Thirteen people have died and many more are missing or injured as fires spread.

 

This article was originally published on and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

It’s peak wildfire season in California, and Monday was one of the worst days in state history. More than 60 blazes are currently underway statewide.

More than a dozen wildfires  Sunday night in and around Napa and Sonoma counties — also known as “wine country,” just north of San Francisco — prompting rushed evacuations of . In an attempt to speed the flow of relief and firefighting equipment and make the National Guard available, Gov. Jerry Brown has .

The Northern California firestorm has quickly burned nearly 100,000 acres, and is encroaching on neighborhoods in several places. At around 3 a.m. Monday, a Cal Fire official  that there was “no hope of containment right now.”

An aerial photograph shows some of the homes destroyed in Santa Rosa early Monday as the wind-driven wildfires raced through California's wine country.
California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division

In total, the fires have  and destroyed  as of Tuesday morning, making them some of . More than 100 people have been treated for burns and smoke inhalation at regional hospitals, , and more than 150 people are still missing. Nationwide, this year’s fire season has cost more than $2 billion, the .

Smoke from the fires is visible from across the Bay Area, with many residents  and even . The National Weather Service says that winds at higher elevations in some parts of Sonoma County , with several areas reporting gusts greater than 50 mph.

Several of the worst wildfires in California history , near the end of California’s months-long dry season. It’s this time of year when a combination of strong offshore winds and low humidity can quickly fan a  into a raging inferno.

These winds are usually formed by a strong inland high pressure center, which pushes air down mountainsides and through canyons, causing it to warm up and dry out — a perfect environment for fast-growing fires. In Northern California, they are generally called “Diablo winds,” after Mt. Diablo in the eastern Bay Area. A  said that climate change is making these wind events more frequent and more severe in California. According to the Bay Area branch of the National Weather Service, conditions will begin to improve .

One particularly frightening fire in Northern California, the Tubbs fire near Santa Rosa, jumped the 101 freeway, forcing a hospital to evacuate its patients. Officials report evacuation centers that have been set up have already filled to capacity. Aerial images of Santa Rosa on Monday showed widespread devastation of entire neighborhoods.

“People are running red lights, there is chaos ensuing,” Santa Rosa resident Ron Dodds . “It’s a scary time. It looks like Armageddon.”

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Wyoming Wildlife Federation - collaborates with the Executive Director and staff to ensure the effective implementation of all philanthropic activities. https://wyomingwildlife.org/hiring-philanthropy-coordinator/.
  • HawkWatch International is hiring an Executive Director to lead the organization. The next leader of this growing organization must have: 1. Enthusiasm for conservation, birds...
  • Everland Mountain Retreat includes 318 mountaintop acres with a 3,200 square foot lodge and two smaller homes. Endless vistas of the Appalachian mountains, open skies,...
  • Home Resource is a non-profit community sustainability center. We work with, in, and for the community to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and...
  • Spectacular views of snowcapped Sierras. 15 miles from Kings Canyon/Sequoia Parks. 47 acres with 2 homes/75' pool/gym/patios/gardens. 1670 sq.ft. main home has 3 bdrm/1 bath....
  • Borderlands Restoration Network 501c3 is hiring a full-time Development Director. Description and job details can be found at https://www.borderlandsrestoration.org/job-opportunities.html
  • Beautiful off-the-grid passive solar near the CDT. 9.4 acres, north of Silver City. Sam, 575.388.1921
  • The City of Fort Collins is seeking an Environmental Planning Manager in the Natural Areas Department. The Department has an annual budget of approximately $13...
  • We are seeking an experienced designer to be the team lead for web development and digital media. Part creator and part planner, this person should...
  • at RCAC. See the full description at https://bit.ly/2WJ3HvY Apply at [email protected]
  • The Utah Rivers Council is looking for an energetic individual with strong communication and organizing skills. The Grassroots Organizer works to ensure our campaigns are...
  • Newly refurbished and tuned. Older model, great condition. Gasoline engine. Chains on tires. Heavy duty for mountain snow. Call cellphone and leave message or email.
  • Hiring a part-time ranch manager to live on The Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch property in Hayden, CO. Responsibilities include: facility maintenance of historic ranch house,...
  • unique custom home in Sangre de Cristo Mountains of CO near La Veta Pass, 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath, private gated park, two hours from...
  • Kaniksu Land Trust, a community-supported non-profit land trust serving north Idaho and northwest Montana, is in search of a new executive director. The ideal candidate...
  • The Flathead Lakers are seeking a dynamic, self-motivated and proven leader to be our next Executive Director (ED).
  • The Blackfoot Challenge, a renowned collaborative conservation org in MT, seeks our next ED.
  • 10-day tour from Los Mochis airport, 2/nyts El Fuerte, train, 2/nyts canyon rim hotel, 5/nyts camping. 520-324-0209, www.coppercanyontrails.org.
  • Earthjustice is hiring for a Staff Attorney
  • to lead an organization that funds projects in National Parks. Major gift fundraising and public lands experience critical. PD and app details @ peopleinparks.org.