Connect with us

Disaster

At least 1,500 structures destroyed in Northern California wildfires

Published

on

california-wildfires

A California fire official said at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings have been destroyed in wildfires that have ripped through the state’s wine country.

The Tubbs Fire in Napa County has scorched 25,000 acres and is 0 percent contained.

The Nuns Fire in Sonoma County has burned 300 acres and is 0 percent contained.

The Atlas Fire in Napa County has burned 200 acres and is 0 percent contained.

A state fire official called the damage estimates conservative and said the fires were burning throughout an eight-county swath of Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Numerous people had been hurt and some were missing, although no estimates were immediately available, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered after the blazes broke out late Sunday. Long lines formed at gas stations when many families heeded a middle-of-the-night call to get out.

“It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before,” said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

Williams could feel the heat of her fire through the car as she fled.

“Trees were on fire like torches,” she said.

With downed trees or flames blocking some routes, Sonoma County residents struggled to figure out what roads to take.

Fires also burned just to the east in the Napa County as well as in Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties — all north of the state capital. The firefighting agency Cal Fire tweeted that as many as 8,000 homes were threatened in Nevada County, which lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said there were no reports of injuries or deaths, although the fires had burned more than 68 square miles. Crews had not yet been able to contain a fire heading toward downtown Napa.

“Right now, with these conditions, we can’t get ahead of this fire and do anything about the forward progress,” Biermann said. He said there were seven large fires burning in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
Smoke was thick in San Francisco, 60 miles south of the Sonoma County fire.

John Dean was driving to his Sonoma County home early Monday when he saw a house on fire along the road. Soon he saw more houses engulfed in flames.

“I mean blazing, falling down on fire,” he said.

Dean sped to his home in Kenwood, alerted neighbors and fled to the town of Sonoma. He was one of hundreds of evacuees who streamed into a 24-hour Safeway market overnight, while authorities set up an official evacuation center.

Maureen McGowan was house-sitting for a brother near Kenwood, and said both of the homes on his property were on fire when she left. At the Safeway, she pointed to her feet, still in slippers. She had fled so fast that she hadn’t put on her shoes.

Officials did not yet have a count on how many properties were affected, either by the fire directly or by evacuations, said Belia Ramos, chairwoman of the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

“We’re focusing on making evacuations and trying to keep people safe. We are not prepared to start counting,” she said shortly after sunrise.

The “tremendous” wind gusts were making the fire unpredictable, she said. “It’s something that we’re having to be very cautious about.”

Ann Dubay, a spokeswoman for the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center, said the area where the largest fire started was relatively rural but the flames “went through many, many neighborhoods,” and authorities did not know how many structures were gone.

Emergency lines were inundated with callers reporting smoke, prompting officials to ask that the public “only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency.”

Business owner Andy Lahiji stood before a burned-out warehouse where he said he had lost his inventory of furniture and other property. He said it took firetrucks ages to arrive Monday morning.

“They said, ‘We have so many other places to go, you have to wait.’ And then when they came, they had only a couple of guys,” he told the station. “I feel very sad. I’m glad nobody got hurt. Hopefully insurance takes care of it.”

The National Weather Service said widespread wind gusts between 35 mph and 50 mph were observed in the north San Francisco Bay region and isolated spots hit 70 mph. The winds were expected to subside at midday.

Community centers, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and other local centers were opened for evacuees.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disaster

Tourists raise over $11,000 for Guatemala volcano victims

Published

on

Gautemala Volcano Eruption

Guatemala City, June 16: Tourists from a Japanese cruise ship that docked in Guatemala this week have raised more than $11,000 for those affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the Central American country.

The ship, Asuka II, arrived in Puerto Quetzal on the country’s Pacific coast on June 11 and at the initiative of the crew and the passengers, the funds were raised, reports Efe news.

The passengers and crew made a gesture of “fraternity and solidarity” with the people of Guatemala in the face of the tragedy and natural disaster caused by the eruption of the volcano, the Japanese embassy here said in a statement on Friday.

The Fuego volcano suffered its biggest eruption in recent years on June 3, leaving 110 dead and almost 200 missing, in addition to causing significant material damage.

On Friday, the volcano produced seven explosions per hour and small pyroclastic flows.

Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology said that the volcano, located some 50 km west of the capital, has been producing between five and seven moderate explosions per hour and has belched out ash clouds rising 4,700 metres into the air.

IANS

Continue Reading

Disaster

Himachal Pradesh: Earthquake of magnitude 4.5 strikes Chamba

Published

on

breaking

New Delhi, June 14: An earthquake of magnitude 4.5 on the Richter Scale hit Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. The quake was reported at Chamba region.

WeForNews

Continue Reading

Disaster

Guatemala volcano eruption toll reaches 114

Published

on

Gautemala Volcano Eruption

Guatemala City, June 12:  The death toll from the eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala on June 3 has increased to 114 after another four bodies were found, according to authorities.

Conred national disaster coordinator brigades, firefighters, army troops and international experts – aided by surviving local residents – on Monday entered so-called “Ground Zero” in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes, in Escuintla province, which was buried under volcanic ash and devastated by pyroclastic flows, reports Efe news.

Using picks and other tools, along with some heavy machinery, recovery brigades found the four bodies in the ruins of the village and under the tonnes of volcanic material.

The victims appeared to be members of a family.

The area reeks of sulfer and recent rains have hardened the pyroclastic flows of volcanic material that have moved down the mountain’s slopes.

Authorities say there is zero possibility of finding any survivors in the devastated areas.

Conred said that because of rainy conditions, search operations were suspended on Monday but will resume on Tuesday.

Insivumeh also reported that volcanic activity within the mountain continues, including frequent and abundant emanations of ash and gas and up to nine explosions per hour, activity that is causing repeated avalanches of fine ash and other material along the southeastern flank.

Health Minister Carlos Soto said that the more than 4,000 people being housed in shelters are being attended to by private organisations such as the Rotary Club.

According to volcanologists, eruption records of Fuego, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, dates back to 1542.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular