Another series of wildfires stormed California’s wine country overnight as flames destroyed numerous homes and other buildings in Napa and Sonoma counties and forced thousands to flee.
A number of homes began to burn early Monday in the suburban eastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa. The city of 177,000 residents, Sonoma County’s most populous, was devastated three years ago by the Tubbs fire, which was also driven by strong winds and destroyed about 1,500 homes in the 1980s-built northwestern Coffey Park neighborhood.
On Monday, it was the suburban northeastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa that were burning, this time from the Shady fire.
Whipped by powerful, hot and dry Diablo winds coming from the north and east, which showered embers onto the city, the fire engulfed houses in the area of Mountain Hawk Drive, which is lined with two-story tract homes in the Skyhawk development, built in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The number of structures lost was unclear as of Monday morning.
Large swaths of Santa Rosa remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Districts in the city’s northeast were ordered to evacuate, including the neighborhoods of Skyhawk, Melita, Stonebridge, the Oakmont Gardens retirement community and Pythian.
Evacuations also were ordered Monday for the Summerfield and Spring Lake areas, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.
With flames in the distances, busloads of older people were evacuated from the Oakmont Gardens assisted-living community. Elsewhere in the city, cars jammed narrow roads as residents heeded evacuation orders.
Two other fires were also burning upwind of the fire encroaching on Santa Rosa, both of them