Mandatory evacuations were ordered over the weekend to protect residents whose properties are at risk.
Firefighters continue to battle Northern California wildfire damage as the blazes continue to be stoked by local winds. Evacuation orders were issued to residents in the wine country area as the fires continue to blast their way across the region. Despite the best efforts of local officials, at least 10 people have already been reported as killed by the fires. Twenty thousand people are now headed away to seek shelter.
At first, hundreds of the region’s evacuees took shelter in Sonoma’s all-night Safeway market, hoping for the best.
Unfortunately, many had already seen some of what the California wildfire damage entailed, having reported seeing homes up in flames. In fact, there are more than 1,500 buildings that have been burned by the fires. The fires came on extremely fast, leading to heartbreaking fatalities and devastating damage.
The evacuation-causing fires first broke out on Sunday night and spread rapidly due to the winds in the area. Though the total results of the blazes have yet to be seen, reports have suggested that several homes and a historic barn were taken down. Authorities worked hard to ensure that seniors centers and hospitals in the northwestern Santa Rosa area were evacuated in time. Santa Rosa is located 54 miles to San Francisco’s north.
The California wildfire damage is quite concerning at the moment due to the rapid spread of the flames.
Wind gusts across the area have been between 35 mph and 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The north San Francisco Bay region observed those wind readings, while isolated locations measured gusts of 70 miles per hour. The winds were predicted to subside after the weekend and firefighters hoped to use the opportunity to take control over the fires.
Firefighters, deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol worked together to help with the evacuations, said the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Jack Piccinini, Windsor’s Fire Chief, explained that almost all of the county’s fire resources were already being employed to try to control the situation.
“Everyone in Sonoma County is spread out fighting these fires, but they don’t have enough resources to handle something like this. The only thing we can do is hope the wind will come down,” said Piccinini.
The area’s emergency lines have been swamped with reports of smoke sightings in the region. Officials have requested that members of the public “only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency.”
The full extent of the California wildfire damage has yet to be calculated. Insurance companies are ready for homeowners policyholder calls and claims.