Fire crews continue to battle multiple wind-whipped wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties that have so far destroyed at least 1,500 structures, forced an estimated 20,000 people to evacuate and claimed 13 lives in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Yuba counties.
Early Tuesday morning, Sonoma County spokesman Steve Alonso said the county is receiving calls every hour from around the world from people asking about people missing in the fires. Alsonso said sheriffs are investigating more than 100 missing person reports.
Early Monday evening, Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said the number of dead and injured is likely to rise.
“We’re still trying to evacuate. There is no searching yet, so it is logical we are going to find more people. This is just the beginning,” he said.
The fires broke out Sunday night as strong winds buffeted the area.
Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott called estimates of destroyed structures very conservative. He said as many as 14 blazes are burning throughout an eight-county swath of Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
So far, approximately 58,000 total acres (89 square miles) have burned, with little to no containment. Local fire agencies from across the region are stepping up to help.
Santa Rosa Kmart on Cleveland Ave fully engulfed. #TubbsFire https://t.co/yWkmdW1No0
More than 200 people were hurriedly evacuated from two Santa Rosa hospitals threatened by the wildfires.
Lisa Amador, a spokeswoman with Sutter Health, said around 9 a.m. Monday that Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital had finished evacuating the last of more than 80 patients in surgical, labor and emergency care.
David Marks is an interactive producer for KQED News and The California Report. He began as full-time interactive producer in 2015, after working as KQED’s audio archivist and promotions manager for Radio. Prior to that, David was an announcer and DJ at NPR member station KRCC in Colorado Springs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.