Gov. Brown issues state of emergency for Northern California fires that have killed at least 10 people

City of Santa Rosa/Courtesy

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Multiple fires burning in the North Bay area that have killed at least 10 people have prompted California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency Monday.

According to Brown’s statement, the largest fires began burning in Napa County on Sunday evening before spreading to Sonoma County. Multiple fires are burning in other parts of Northern California, including the Mendocino, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras and Butte counties. One fire is also burning in Orange County in Southern California.

Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director for CAL FIRE, said the two largest fires, the Tubbs and Atlas fires, began overnight in Napa County. The Tubbs fire began at Highway 128 and north of Calistoga, and the Atlas fire started at Atlas Peak Road.

Officials are currently investigating what sparked the fires, Berlant said. He added that strong winds caused the fires to spread rapidly.

At least 15 fires are currently burning across the North Bay. The fires have destroyed 1,500 structures and have led officials to issue evacuations for about 20,000 people throughout the eight counties affected by the fires, according to Berlant.

Authorities reported that at least 10 people have died as of press time.

The Bay Area Quality Management District issued an AC Alert, warning the public of wildfire smoke in the area that will decrease air quality and may affect people with respiratory illnesses.

The National Weather Service issued multiple California Red Flag Warnings throughout the state, some of which will remain active until Tuesday. The ones in Orange County will remain active until the end of the week, Berlant said.

Many fire departments sent resources to help local agencies combat the fires. Berkeley Fire Department sent one engine to aid first responders, according to BFD Acting Chief David Brannigan.

“The circumstances of these fires by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat,” Brown said in his statement.

Contact Adrianna Buenviaje and Sophia Brown-Heidenreich at [email protected].