More than a dozen wildfires have ignited across California wine country in the last 24 hours, leading to at least one death in Mendocino County.
All told, 15 fires have so far destroyed at least 1,500 structures and burned more than 73,000 acres across nine counties, reports the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than 20,000 residents have been forced to evacuate.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba Counties.
“These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents,” Brown’s proclamation said. “These fires have damaged and continue to threaten critical infrastructure and have forced the closure of major highways and local roads.”
According to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, an officer spotted one of the fires at 1:10 a.m. Monday, when severe wind gusts downed trees and power lines, sparking a fast-growing blaze.