The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported seven fire-related deaths late Monday. In addition, two died because of the Atlas fire in Napa County and one in Mendocino County, according to a CalFire spokesperson. The fires, which were enabled by dry conditions and a powerful, dry wind blowing west from the desert, spread quickly and reportedly left many area residents scrambling to flee their path.
Wine country is burning.
Thousands of residents of Napa Valley, Sonoma and six other counties have been forced from their homes – and thousands more are preparing to flee – as 14 wildfires tear through Northern California, resisting fire fighters' efforts to contain them.
California's fire chief says at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings have been destroyed – and officials said that estimate was probably conservative. While no deaths have been confirmed, fire officials say numerous residents have been injured and a number of people are also missing. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott say an estimated 20,000 people have been evacuated.