California wildfires force evacuations, threaten wine country

Arik Housley gives 'Fox & friends' an on-the-ground update.

Several raging wind-whipped fires forced evacuations Monday in California’s famed wine country.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered near Calistoga in Sonoma County, located about 75 miles north of San Francisco, KTVU reported. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said there were multiple fires reported around the county, including a “very large fire” that jumped a freeway and spread into the east side of Santa Rosa. 


Multiple fires broke out Sunday night as strong winds buffeted the area. Emergency lines were inundated with callers reporting smoke in the area, prompting officials to ask that the public “only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency.”

Napa Fire 1

Multiple fires broke out Sunday night in Northern California as strong winds buffeted the area.

 (Poe Wines)

Officials in Sonoma County said all Santa Rosa City schools will be closed Monday due to the fires.

In neighboring Napa County, officials were battling a 200 acre fire south of Lake Berryessa, located about 65 miles west of Sacramento.

Napa Fire 2

Downed trees were blocking rural roads as California wildfires continued to spread.

 (Norma Quintana)

Fire officials said the Atlas Fire broke out at 9:50 p.m. local time and was zero percent contained.

Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean called the conditions “very volatile.” 

“People need to be careful,” McLean said. 

Napa Fire 3

The National Weather Service issued a warning of dangerous conditions that could lead to rapidly spreading wildfires.

 (Kurt-Inge Eklund)

Downed trees were blocking parts of one rural road and fires were burning on both sides of Highway 12 as gusts reached up to 60 mph.

“The winds picked up to 40-plus miles per hour probably, very windy, and it changed direction and it headed straight down the valley floor,” Napa resident and Ranch Markets owner Arik Housley told “FOX & Friends.”

Windsor Fire Chief Jack Piccinini told the Associated Press that nearly every one of Sonoma County’s fire resources is being used, but it is not enough.

“Everyone in Sonoma County is spread out fighting these fires, but they don’t have enough resources to handle something like this. The only thing we can do is hope the wind will come down,” he said.

There is no immediate information on injuries or fatalities. Community centers, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and other local centers have been opened for evacuees.

The National Weather Service issued a warning of dangerous conditions that could lead to rapidly spreading wildfires, which goes until early Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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