Hundreds of firefighters have been trying to contain blazes across Northern California’s wine country since Sunday night in what officials said was one of the most destructive fire emergencies in the state’s history.
In Santa Rosa, the largest city in Sonoma County, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed. In the Coffey Park neighborhood, bare trees dotted the landscape where dozens of homes had been reduced to ash and rubble. Multiple evacuation orders were issued in the city after fires first broke out on Sunday.
Smoke and fire engulfed both sides of Fountaingrove Parkway in Santa Rosa. Fires also raged further east through the heart of Sonoma and Napa wine country, damaging thousands of buildings and establishments, including multiple vineyards, wineries and at least one dairy.
The fires, which began Sunday night, appeared to catch residents off guard, with some fleeing on foot.
About 140,000 acres had burned by Wednesday afternoon, destroying thousands of structures and forcing the evacuation of more than 20,000 people, officials said.