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Wildfires prompt evacuations in California's wine country

10 October 2017

In southern California, a fast-moving wildfire in Anaheim is forcing some evacuations.

"It was an inferno like you've never seen before", Marian Williams told The Associated Press as she escaped from the small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

There will be no regularly scheduled Santa Rosa CityBus service Monday as a result of the wildfires in the North Bay, Santa Rosa fire officials said. The Los Angeles Times reported the fire's burned 35,000 acres. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, as wildfires in the state's wine country exploded into some of its worst in history.

Mandatory evacuations were in place for multiple areas in Napa County.

The fires have closed 30 school districts in Sonoma County, as well as Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. The blaze has also crossed the 101 Freeway in Santa Rosa, igniting structures west of the freeway.

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Another fire burning west of Napa, the Patrick Fire, off of Patrick Road, has consumed at least 3,000 acres.

The multiple fires broke out Sunday night as strong winds buffeted the area. The Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park was also opened as an evacuation center.

Shelters were opened at the Calistoga Fairgrounds and a Napa church, and firefighters said their primary focus is on saving lives before fighting the flames.

Business owner Andy Lahiji stood before a burned out storage warehouse where he said he had lost his inventory of furniture and other property.

Smoke and fire rise from the Fountaingrove Inn Hotel as it burns in Santa Rosa, Calif., Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

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The "Atlas Fire" was burning in the hills above Napa County and had damaged several buildings.

The nearby Marin County Sheriff's Office reported no fires Monday morning but said its 911 dispatchers were overwhelmed with people calling to report smoke from other area fires being pushed into their neighborhoods. Gusts were predicted to be in the 30 miles per hour range in the area of the fire.

As of 6:39 a.m. on October 9, Mendocino County's Potter Fire had grown to 1,500 acres.

San Francisco authorities issued an air quality alert due to smoke from the blazes, warning residents to close windows, limit outdoor activities and keep pets inside, according to text messages sent by the city's emergency notification system.

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Wildfires prompt evacuations in California's wine country