Monday, October 9

14 wildfires break out almost simultaneously in a California valley UPDATED 7:45pm EDT 10/10

From a report today at San Francisco Gate, Battle on to halt march of Northern California fires that have killed 15, destroyed 2,000 structuresupdated 4:24pm (I'll assume this is Pacific Time, which is 3 hours behind Eastern Time):
The scramble began when as many as seven blazes started almost simultaneously Sunday night amid powerful winds, with gusts of up to 70 mph.
I haven't checked whether other news sources today have also cited the number of fire outbreaks as 7 rather than 14.

However, from a Los Angeles Times report yesterday, posted at 3:00pm:
Cal Fire on Monday called the group of 14 fires the fifth most destructive wildfire on record, in terms of the number of structures that burned down.
Cal Fire is the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. So the above is an official announcement. But I just don't know what would explain the seeming discrepancy.

“We live in the valley, where it’s concrete and strip malls and hotels and supermarkets. The last thing you think is a forest fire is going to come and wipe us out.”

At least 10 dead as fires rage in California wine country
30 minutes ago
The Associated Press

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country Monday, killing at least 10 people, destroying 1,500 homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing as flames raged unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.

The fires broke out nearly simultaneously and then exploded overnight, sending residents fleeing as embers rained down and flames raged around them. Two hospitals in Santa Rosa, the largest city in the region with 175,000 people, were forced to evacuate patients.
Residents who gathered at makeshift emergency shelters and grocery stores said they were shocked by the speed and ferocity of the flames.
Some of the largest of the 14 blazes burning over a 200-mile region were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. They sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) away. The causes of the fires were unknown.
Lots more in the AP report. ABC7 TV station (Northern California) is reporting that looters have been striking at homes during the chaos:
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- As many residents in the North Bay are evacuating, scrambling to save their loved ones and escape the chaos of seemingly endless flames, some families say their homes are not only in danger of burning down, but being robbed amid the chaos.
ABC7 News reporter Amy Hollyfield discusses the unthinkable -- looting the home of a person who has evacuated from a potentially deadly string of fires that have destroyed over 1,500 structures.
Meanwhile, in Southern California: "Several homes destroyed, at least 1,000 evacuated as Orange County fire grows to 5,000 acres: ...The Canyon Fire 2 put an added drain on state firefighting resources as first responders battled more than a dozen blazes that erupted in Northern California on Sunday night ..."

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