Wildfires tear through California wine country; 20000 evacuated

A thick cloud of black smoke rises from a burning junkyard in American Canyon on Sunday

"These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents", said the governor.

There are no reports of injuries or deaths, so far.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott told the Associated Press that an expected 20,000 individuals in the northern piece of the state had been emptied.

A smoke advisory was issued Monday for the San Francisco Bay Area as the result of massive wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties. "Winds will continue to gust between 35 and 45 miles per hour with locally stronger gusts up to 55 miles per hour in the highest mountains".

Napa officials said two evacuation centers had been opened - at the Crosswalk Community Church on First Street and at the Napa County Fairgrounds. Earlier, officials said Soda Canyon residents should evacuate.

Sonoma County is the largest producer of California's Wine Country region, which also includes Napa, Mendocino, and Lake counties. Another hospital in the area, Sutter Hospital, was also placed under evacuation orders. The Tubbs fire, which had spread from Calistoga to Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, has engulfed more than 25,000 acres (9,000 hectares).

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

Dozens of houses at a mobile home park were destroyed in a 20,000-acre brush fire burning out of control in Santa Rosa.

In Sonoma County, Santa Rosa's city manager declared the fires a local emergency.

The fire has crossed Highway 101 in Santa Rosa and ignited structures west of the freeway in the area of Kohl's Department Store on Hopper Avenue.

Upwards of 300 firefighters are battling blazes in Napa County.

"I looked over and saw a house on fire", he said.

No fires were reported in the Petaluma area early Monday morning, though smoke could be seen over the city. One of the most significant buildings in Santa Rosa, the Round Barn was built in 1899 and is the center of Fountaingrove Ranch. Residents and businesses in the area were advised to evacuate immediately.

Residents are advised to limit outdoor activities and to set air conditioning and vehicle venting systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from entering.

He was asked multiple times if it was suspicious that three fires began around the same time, and he reiterated that the causes of all three fires are unknown.

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