San francisco California. – The voracious fire burning in northern California seems to resist the titanic efforts of firefighters and, as the hours progress, not only do the dimensions of the fire grow but also the number of people under mandatory evacuation orders in the vineyard region of Sonoma County.
The extreme episode of high winds and the threat of the Kincade fire, which since Wednesday night broke out without control, forced Governor Gavin Newsom to declare this Sunday the state of emergency for all of California. The president also reported that 300 members of the National Guard are supporting the efforts of local and state authorities.
According to the last part of the authorities, the devastating incident grows by leaps and bounds and has consumed up to now 66,231 acres of vegetation and razed 96 structures, including at least 31 houses. Authorities also warned that 80,000 homes are threatened by the flames. Three firefighters have been injured, one of them seriously.RELATED
Tours made by Univision News 14 in the evacuated areas were able to verify that Geyserville, Healdsburg and Windsor, the cities closest to the first combat front to the accident, were completely empty and looking like “ghost towns”. The exodus of residents to the south, mainly to the neighboring cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma, has several evacuation centers at maximum capacity and the roads that remain open saturated with traffic.
“They have to evacuate now. Leave your homes at this time ", has been the repetitive message of the emergency services before the certainty that the winds continue pushing the fire towards the southwest of the county, because according to the National Meteorological Service, the climatic episode of strong winds will continue valid until noon on Monday.
The 85 brigades made up of more than 4,100 firefighters work at forced marches on different fronts of the conflagration, however, the fire continues to grow and so far the emergency services have barely managed to contain it at 5%.
Sonoma County and all of California are in a state of emergency and, like much of the north of the region, under a red flag alert because of the risk of rapid fire spread, which has forced the PG&E power company to implement a third round of mass blackouts that left 965,000 homes and businesses out of power in 38 counties in central and northern California.
One of the main concerns of firefighters is the difficulty they will have in communicating with residents in the middle of the power outages that began Saturday afternoon. In Sonoma County alone, more than 95,000 customers lost PG&E service, including the cities of Santa Rosa, Geyserville, Healdsburg and Windsor, which are the closest to the Kincade fire.
The emergency, both because of the fire and the massive blackouts, is far from over. The Cal FIRE agency warned that Kincade flames could continue to burn at least until November 7, while the PG&E company is already preparing for a fourth day of historic power outages starting next Tuesday for 32 counties in California, many of which still do not recover electricity.
Meanwhile, east of San Francisco Bay, a series of forest fires had forced marches in the firefighters of Contra Costa County, including one that closed the I-80 for several hours at the height of the Carquinez Bridge and another that forced to evacuate parts of Lafayette and completely calcined the city's tennis club.
A hell that spreads quickly: fires force to declare emergency for all of California (photos)
The mandatory evacuation order that was in force days ago for some 2,000 residents in Geyserville was extended this Sunday morning to more than 180,000 people in the 10 areas demarcated for the fire, and that include: (1) Geyserville; (2) Kights Valley; (3) Healdsburg and Windsor; (4) Dry Creek Valley; (5) Mark West, Larkfield and Wikiup; (6) northeast of Santa Rosa, including Fountaingrove, Oakmont and Rincon Valley neighborhoods; (7) Forestville, Guerneville, Duncan Mills, Jenner, Bay Bay and Occidental; (8) Sebastopol and Valley Ford; (9) the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, north of Guerneville Road and Steele Lane; and (10) the Santa Rosa region west of Stony Point Road, between Guerneville Road and Ludwig Avenue.
"A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the city of Santa Rosa. It includes all areas in the limits of Santa Rosa west of Highway 101 and north of Highway 12, as well as north of Steele Lane, Lewis Road , Chanate Road to Montecito Boulevard, and Calistoga Road, "the authorities wrote in an emergency warning issued during Sunday morning. As a preventive measure, all inmates in North County Prison were taken smoothly to correctional facilities in Alameda County.
California Highway Patrol officials indicated that Highway 101 was closed in both directions between Arata Lane and Dry Creek Road due to poor visibility caused by the dense smoke of the Kincade fire. This morning the fire crossed to the west side of Highway 120 and threatens to reach Highway 101.
Since Wednesday night, the fire burns to the east of Geyserville, but the Cal FIRE agency anticipates that the new climate event accompanied by winds above 75 miles per hour will continue pushing the voracious flames to the southwest, putting Healdsburg at risk , Windsor and the city of Santa Rosa, where more than 177,000 people live and which was devastated by devastating fires two years ago.
The Sonoma County fire chief said it is the largest evacuation for the vineyard region in northern California in the past 25 years. “Prepare to evacuate if you are north of Highway 128 and towards the border between Sonoma and Napa counties. Use Highway 101 South to evacuate if you can arrive safely, ”authorities warned in a message sent to residents.
Due to the new evacuation orders, the temporary shelter that had been enabled in Healdsburg was closed. All residents who leave their homes can move to the following centers:
Petaluma Fairgrounds (100 Fairgrounds Dr, Petaluma)
Petaluma Veterans Building (1094 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma 94952)
Petaluma Community Center (320 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma 94954)
Muir Memory Care (750, McDowell Blvd, Petaluma)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds (1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa 05404)
Marin Fairgrounds (10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael 94903)
Crosswalk Community Church (2590 1st St, Napa)
Napa Valley College (2277 Napa Vallejo Hwy)
Napa Valley Expo (575 Third St, Napa)
Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building (1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa 95404)
St. Mary’s Cathedral (1111 Gough Street, San Francisco)
Christian Church (1129 Industrial Ave. No. 104, Petaluma)
In Lake County, near Sonoma, authorities also issued mandatory evacuation orders for the communities of Adams, Anderson Springs, Cobb, Gifford Springs, Hobergs and Whispering Pines, as well as for residents living on Ford Flat Road and Socrates Mine Road.
Another emergency faced by residents of the region is the air severely polluted by smoke from fires.
The authorities extended until Monday (and possibly for the next few days) the alert for poor air quality for Sonoma County and other regions of San Francisco Bay as the winds change direction and the smoke from the Kincade fire Move southwest.
"The maps show poor air quality from (Sonoma County) to Monterey, as well as in the Central Valley," the National Weather Service warned.
The Bay Area Air District recommends residents avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible. The levels of polluting particles in the air at this time are harmful to people with respiratory problems and chronic lung diseases.
“Unfortunately this will continue for the next few days. It is critical that residents follow evacuation orders and instructions from local health authorities, ”said Jack Broadbent, agency director.
A computational model of the meteorological service shows that the smoke from the fires will be pushed south in the next few hours and by tomorrow will cover most of the Bay Area.
San Francisco International Airport could see its operations affected and it is anticipated that, if conditions continue, classes will be suspended in several school districts in the region by next Monday.
The California vineyard region relives the tragedy of two years ago with new forest fires (photos)
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