Massive wildfires burned out of control in Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and shutting down major roadways as firefighters sought to halt the advance of infernos that were driven by powerful winds. There was no immediate estimate of the damage or the extent of injuries, but vast swaths of land were burning in both counties, according to authorities and witnesses.
Two hospitals in Santa Rosa, those run by Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, were evacuated. Power outages were widespread. People flocked to gas stations in cities that were safe from the conflagrations, to fuel up and buy water and other supplies. Evacuation centers were set up, then quickly filled, forcing more to open. In several cities, including Napa, Santa Rosa and Petaluma, public school leaders closed all schools Monday. The series of fires began to ignite Sunday and multiplied as the night went on, hitting Napa and Sonoma the hardest but affecting at least five counties.