While people along the Gulf Coast are getting their latest bout of stormy weather courtesy of Hurricane Nate, over on the Pacific side the current local natural disaster is scorching hot. Powerful winds combined with extreme temperatures have triggered a spate of wildfires in #northern california this Monday, with the most critical concentration being in and around the state’s vaunted wine country. Vintage wineries, picturesque neighborhoods, and resorts were consumed by advancing flames all through the night, with no less than ten people reported to have perished in the ongoing inferno while over a hundred have sustained fire-related injuries or illnesses.

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Burned city

Over a month after the last major California wildfire incident around Los Angeles, new blazes were triggered on October 8, Sunday night, and escalated to catastrophic proportions due to prevailing dry conditions and 50 mph winds, according to Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott at a news conference on October 9. As of that evening, October 9, they have devastated the northern California counties of Napa, Mendocino, and Sonoma, as well as the city of #Santa Rosa. It has been estimated that the flames have destroyed a total of 1,500 homes and business buildings. Collectively, all the #Wildfire outbreaks this week could now be counted as one of the top 10 worst in California history.

Over 20,000 area residents have been forced to evacuate in the face of the wildfires, many of whom had little time to pack anything before fleeing the inferno.

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Santa Rosa, a city with an estimated 175,000 in population, was also forced to move some of its patients to safety even as its residential subdivisions were reduced to smoking rubble. Mayor Chris Coursey counted himself lucky that his home was safe in an unaffected neighborhood, but as he said at a news conference, “My city is not.”

Scorched wineries

The number of active wildfires in northern California during the start of the week reached to 14, with most of them doing damage to a 200-mile region across Napa and Sonora counties. These two have within their areas the lion’s share of wineries operating in the state. Research done by the Stonebridge Group in 2012 and 2014 indicate that the Napa and Sonora wine industries each have an economic impact of $13 billion.

One prominent victim of the wildfire spread was the Signorello Estate winery in Napa, which was burned to the ground. Other facilities in the country like the Garnet Vineyards & Picket Fence Vineyards have yet to be affected by the flames, though it could be a close thing. The president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, Karisa Kruse, reports winery losses among their members, though the exact figures are yet unclear due to ongoing evacuations. Already 119,032 acres in California are burned in the wildfires.