Northern California's wine country is on fire as high winds fan flames, destroy homes and force nearly 70,000 people to evacuate in an already scorched region. Thousands of people are under evacuation orders and being evacuated from the San Francisco Bay Area region as nearly 40 wildfires burn amid a blazing heatwave and have an impact on the area's water supply and air quality, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALIFORNIA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said Wednesday, October 4, 2017. Thousands of people are in evacuation orders and being evacuated from their homes in a region surrounded by wildfires because of scorching heatwaves and their impact on water supplies and quality in Northern California.
Police and firefighters go door to door warning residents to evacuate as the fires engulf the city of Napa, California, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. Police and fire crews go door to door on Tuesday, October 3, 2018, in San Francisco, California, to warn residents to evacuate their homes in the Bay Area, a city between San Diego and San Mateo County, as well as Sacramento and Los Angeles and Santa Cruz.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the blaze was "extremely fire-prone" and was challenging firefighters. About 22,000 people had to be evacuated as the fire burned through dense forest park and threatened communities, Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said. The fire threatened communities in San Francisco, San Mateo County, Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area, as well as Sacramento and Los Angeles County. About 23,500 homes in the city of Napa, Calif., on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, near the city of Sonoma, Calif., and California State University in San Diego, Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said in a news conference Tuesday, October 3, 2018, at CalFire headquarters in Oakland, CA, about the size of a football field, and about 2,400 homes on the outskirts of Santa Clara County when it burned in dense, wooded parkland, he said, according to a statement from the state fire department.
It is a rare event that many of the current fires in California ignite, but the extreme heat is created by a combination of high temperatures and low humidity, which also cause a rush of thunderstorms and lightning that have ignited many wildfires across California. The ferocious flames even damaged a scene that turned the famed Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area into the scene of a firefight.
A firefighter suffered a hand injury while fighting the fire in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Jose, California, on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. A firefighter suffers an injury to his hands while fighting the San Francisco Fire in New York City on Monday, August 1, 2016.
Damage was severe in other cities near the fault, including San Jose, Salinas and Santa Rosa, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Most destructive was a massive group of fires known as the LNU Lightning Complex in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of the flames were caused by massive, dry thunderstorms that have been concentrated over the Bay Area in recent days, according to the US Geological Survey. A lightning strike - which erupted on Friday, November 4, 2017, in eastern San Jose, California - threatens East and San - SF Bay. The fire, which was started by lightning, is threatened by a large swath of dry, hot, windy and dry soil near the California-Oregon border. A fire caused by lightning threatens East & San Francisco Bay in eastern and eastern San Mateo County, California, on Saturday, October 14, 2016.
A fire engulfs a wooded area in eastern San Mateo County, California, on Saturday, October 14, 2016. A fire engulfed a wooded area in the East and San Francisco Bay area east of San Francisco Bay on Friday, November 4, 2017. The fire has engulfed an area east and west of the East Bay of the Bay Area in the San Jose area north of Oakland.
Ash and smoke fill the air in San Francisco, which is surrounded by at least five wildfires that are blazing in several counties in the north, east and south. Communities in and around San Francisco, including Gilroy, Berkeley and San Jose, are enveloped in brown smoke, putting residents on high alert.
Firefighters are battling 367 known wildfires in California, including 23 considered major, Governor Gavin Newsom said. The wildfire has set a record: it has destroyed 760,000 hectares of land, an area larger than the US state of Delaware.
A total of 396,624 hectares have burned since the rare storm began in mid-August, making it the largest wildfire in the state's history, according to CalFire's Accident Map. In the Santa Clara and Alameda counties, which include San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Cruz counties, and the city of San Jose, more than 365,000 hectares burned, according to the fire department.