10 Dead, Hundreds Hospitalized in Devastating NorCal Fires
At least 10 people are dead, over 100 hospitalized, and more than 1,500 structures destroyed as a result of fast-moving fires engulfing the northern parts of the state. The infernos, which began late Sunday night, have already affected eight counties: Butte, Calaveras, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma, and Yuba. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the president to declare a major disaster.
“This is really serious. It’s moving fast. The heat, the lack of humidity and the winds are all driving a very dangerous situation and making it worse,” the governor said Monday. “It’s not under control by any means. But we’re on it in the best way we know how.”
In Santa Rosa, the fire destroyed the Hilton hotel and a Journey’s retirement community. The Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Medical hospitals also had to be evacuated, uprooting some 130 patients, Santa Rosa’s city manager said.
The 10 fatalities occurred in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties. That toll is expected to rise. Sonoma County has received over 100 missing persons calls already.
October is a peak month for wildfires in the area, but Sunday’s blazes caught people completely off guard. Many in the fires’ path tried to escape on foot, leading to the deaths and injuries.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fires. As of early Tuesday morning, they had burned more than 73,000 acres.