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Wine Country fires: What we know, and what we don’t

SF Gate logo SF Gate 10/10/2017 By Kimberly Veklerov

A fire tears through parts of the Journey's End mobile home park on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

A fire tears through parts of the Journey's End mobile home park on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.
© Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle
Fifteen wildfires in Northern California, many of them in the Wine Country, ravaged homes, businesses, vineyards and farmland Monday. Eleven people were confirmed dead and several others were severely burned. Major highways were shut down, and local officials requested help from around the region as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.

Information from authorities and residents on the ground was developing throughout Monday. Officials said efforts were focused on saving people’s lives, so many details were not fully known.

What we know:

• Thirteen people are confirmed dead, More than 110 people were treated at hospitals, many for smoke inhalation but a few for severe burns.

• Sonoma County officials said Tuesday morning they had received up to 150 reports of missing individuals.

At least 1,500 homes and commercial facilities have been destroyed in the fires, which are burning in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba counties. A fire station in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa was among the ravaged structures.

• At least 73,000 acres in total have burned.

• Napa County officials said three fires are burning in their jurisdiction: the Tubbs Fire near Calistoga and Santa Rosa at 25,000 acres, the Atlas Peak Fire at 25,000 acres and the Partrick Fire in the Carneros area at 3,000 acres.

• There was zero or extremely limited containment on all of the fires Tuesday morning.

• Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for certain residential areas of Santa Rosa, numerous areas elsewhere in Sonoma County, and in and around the city of Napa. People in some neighborhoods in Fairfield were being encouraged to evacuate.

• Emergency dispatch centers in the Bay Area were being overwhelmed by 911 calls. Officials urged people to only call 911 for active, unattended flames or life-threatening emergencies.

• The National Weather Service issued its highest possible alert, a red flag warning, because of extremely dry, windy conditions Monday. The warning expired at 5 a.m. Tuesday as tempertures dropped overnight in the fire zones.

“Any new fire starts will have the potential for rapid fire growth,” forecasters said in a statement. “Shifting winds may push ongoing fires in new directions.”

• At one point, more than 114,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in the North Bay lost power. Hardest hit was Santa Rosa, with more than 23,460 customers blacked out, and St. Helena, with more than 7,660 losing electricity service. The utility, which mobilized workers from outside the Bay Area to respond to the emergency, managed to restore electricity service to about 12,000 of those customers by midday.

• The California Highway Patrol said it had rescued 44 people, ranging from ages 5 to 91, by helicopter. Five dogs and a cat were also airlifted.

• A number of historic structures and popular destinations, including Santa Rosa’s luxury Fountaingrove Inn and the Signorello Estates winery in Napa, were destroyed.

• Portable classrooms, the library and the main office at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa was destroyed. The Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa was damaged.

• Sonoma County officials said they have received reports of looting, and Santa Rosa police issued a mandatory curfew that expired at 6:45 p.m. Monday.

What remains unclear:

• The causes of all the fires remain under investigation. Daniel Berlant, spokesman with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said investigators were in the area to determine the causes and origins of the fires.

• Officials do not yet know how many people were injured in the fires. But a spokeswoman for St. Joseph Health said Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital treated about 60 people for wildfire-related injuries, including two burn patients in critical condition. Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa treated about 40 patients, transferring one person with significant burns to a specialty center.

• The exact number of damaged and destroyed structures was not known, but officials believe there were more than 1,500.

• The exact number of evacuees was not known, but officials believed there were about 20,000.

Chimneys line the streets after the fire in Santa Rosa, Ca., on Monday October 9, 2017. Massive wildfires ripped through Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses on Monday October 9, 2017

Chimneys line the streets after the fire in Santa Rosa, Ca., on Monday October 9, 2017. Massive wildfires ripped through Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses on Monday October 9, 2017
© Michael Macor, The Chronicle

• How much money and how many resources — including an exact number of firefighters — being devoted to firefighting was not clear. Hundreds of firefighters from as far away as San Diego were assisting in the efforts.

• It wasn’t known Monday whether President Trump would approve Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration and additional federal aid.

• The total number of missing individuals was not known. Those looking for relatives and friends may file a missing-person report with Sonoma County officials at (707) 565-3856.

Kimberly Veklerov is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kveklerov@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kveklerov

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