California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) issued an emergency proclamation for three counties north of San Francisco on Monday as firefighters struggled to contain a number of wind-fueled blazes raging through the rural communities. "A few" hurricane-force gusts were recorded over the weekend in the Napa and Sonoma County valleys, with the wildfires regularly fanned by winds up to 60 miles per hour.
Residents were forced to flee overnight as the fires closed in on their homes: "Terri Ruttledge, who lives on Adobe Canyon in Kenwood, just made it out before the fire burned her house," reports The Associated Press in one account. In another, CNN describes "Alyssa O'Gorman and her family [fleeing] their home in the nick of time, dodging the wind-driven wildfires roaring across northern California early Monday."
There are no reports of deaths, although more than 50 structures have been destroyed by the blaze and "thousands" are threatened, AP adds. "The rest of the Bay Area, stretching as far south as Santa Cruz, shared in the experience vicariously as thick smoke blotted out the morning sky and left an acrid stench across the nine-county region," The Mercury News writes.
At least three fires are raging in the region: The Tubbs Fire in Napa County has burned through 20,000 acres, the Atlas Fire in Napa Country through 5,000 acres, and the Redwood Fire in Mendocino Country through 4,500 acres. "It was an inferno like you've never seen before," Marian Williams, who escaped Sonoma County in the nick of time, told The Mercury News. Jeva Lange
Update 1:50 p.m. ET: Authorities said Monday morning that at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed in the fire.