Massive forest fire raging in Northern California

The Northern California firestorm has already devoured at least 1,500 structures, making it among the state's worst

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 9, 2017 4:09PM (EDT)

 (AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
(AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

A firestorm is sweeping through eight counties in Northern California. With more than 1,500 structures destroyed so far, Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The pictures and videos emerging from the firestorm need to be seen to be believed.

There have been a number of fires reported throughout northern California overall, although no deaths have been confirmed. That said, there are people reported as unaccounted for, as well as injuries.

According to Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon, as of Monday morning a fire near Santa Rosa had burned more than 35,000 acres. Other officials said that a large fire in Atlas Peak, which is also located in Napa County, has destroyed between 8,000 and 10,000 acres.

A spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Jenny Mack, told the Times that hospital staff had managed to safely evacuate their patients.

"All scheduled appointments and surgeries have been canceled for the day in Santa Rosa and the Napa medical offices," Mack said.

While the cause of the numerous fires remains under investigation, one meteorologist told the Times that the outbreak is not necessarily unusual.

"We also had really gusty winds and really warm temperatures. This time of year it does happen quite a bit. For the San Francisco Bay Area, our summer is late September to early October; that’s when we have our warmest and driest conditions," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Mehle.

One bit of good news: According to Napa County Sheriff John Robertson, there have not been any issues with residents trying to avoid leaving their homes during the evacuation.

"Most of the people are leaving their homes. This is a big event," Robertson told CNN.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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