San francisco California. – The state of emergency for the Kincade fire that burns in northern California took on new dimensions on Saturday night when authorities expanded expanded the number of cities in Sonoma County under mandatory evacuation orders, which rose from 50,000 to almost 90,000 the historical number of residents who must leave their homes immediately.
“They have to evacuate now. We want them out of their homes before 4:00 pm ”, was the emphatic message that Cal FIRE agency sent to the residents of the cities of Geyserville, Healdsburg and Windsor (the closest to the incident) in fear that the Ravenous fire continues to spread to the south of the county due to the new episode of high winds that began at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The devastating incident that burns since Wednesday night has so far consumed 25,955 acres of vegetation and razed 77 structures, including 31 houses. Authorities also warned that 23,000 homes are threatened by the flames.RELATED
The 68 brigades made up of some 2,800 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 in 10%. Cal FIRE reported that a fireman and two people were slightly injured during the evacuations.
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 are expected to lose PG&E service, including the cities of Geyserville, Healdsburg and Windsor.
The mandatory evacuation order that was in effect for some 2,000 residents in Geyserville was extended this Saturday morning to include 50,000 people in the cities of Healdsburg and Windsor, and later to a total of 90,000 in the Dry Creek Valley communities, Mark West / Larkfield area, Fulton, Forestville, Guerneville, West, Jenner and Bodega Bay, as well as in all unincorporated areas of Sonoma County on the perimeter that ranges from the fire zone to the west coast of the county.
Further south, an evacuation warning has been issued for Santa Rosa that includes all areas north of Guerneville Road, Steele Lane, Lewis Road, Chanate Road, Montecito Avenue and Montecito Boulevard to the northern limits of the city. As a preventive measure, all inmates in North County Prison were taken smoothly to correctional facilities in Alameda County.
Since Wednesday night, the fire burns to the east of Geyserville, but the Cal FIRE agency anticipates that the new weather event accompanied by winds above 70 miles per hour, will push the voracious flames to the south, putting Healdsburg at risk and Windsor and on alert to 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 toward the border between Sonoma and Napa counties, as well as east of Highway 128 toward Ida Clayton Road. 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:
Finley Community Center (2060 W. College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401)
Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building (1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa 95404
Petaluma Fairgrounds (100 Fairgrounds Dr, Petaluma)
Petaluma Veterans Building (1094 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma 94952)
Petaluma Community Center (320 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma 94954)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds – Large animals only (1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa 05404)
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.
Poor air quality
The authorities extended until this Saturday (and possibly for the next few days) the alert for poor air quality for the San Francisco Bay as the winds change direction and the smoke from the Kincade fire moves south of the region.
"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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