tv ABC7 News 600AM ABC October 14, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
breaking news from sonoma county, huge flames, gusty winds and mandatory evacuations. right now part of a north bay community has been told to waste no time and to get out as soon as possible. good morning and thanks so much for being with us, i'm chris nguyen. breaking news involving the north bay wildfires where there are several new mandatory evacuations. the latest in lake county. officials are urging everyone living in the spring valley and new long valley areas to leave immediately. also new mandatory evacuations in eastern santa rosa, the sonoma county sheriff's office says you must leave immediately if you live in the following areas: highway 12 between adobe canyon road in kenwood and calistoga road in santa rosa. this includes both sides of highway 12, skyhawk,wk,wk,wk,wk,
hawk and much of rincon county. also 7th street east from east napa street to denmark street. also the north side of denmark street from 7th street east to napa road. new mandatory evacuations also include 8th street east, north of denmark. east macarthur street, east of 7th. also quail run way and hamblin road. the wind really one of the main factors right now that could be driving the flames as the sheriff's office encourages or urges, rather, you to evacuate immediately. again, we're going to be keeping the latest information updated at the bottom of your screen, we're scrolling information on all evacuation orders in effect right now. if you need a place to go, there are dozens of shelters that remain open. these include elsie allen high school in santa rosa. the sonoma county fairgrounds and the sebastopol community
center. you'll find a complete list on abc7news.com. we want to point out that buses are now staged at the safeway on highway 12 in calistoga road for anyone who needs alternate transportation. again, that's the safeway on highway 12 and calistoga road for those who need alternate transportation to get out of the affected areas. so roughly 400 households are impacted by these new mandatory evacuations in sonoma. abc 7 news reporter cornell barnard joins us from lovall road in sonoma. this is one of the areas being evacuated right now. cornell, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, chris, yeah, this scary situation continues to unfold. we've been talking about these mandatory evacuations all morning long. take a look, this is the reason why. smoke and flames, very visible claims continue to lap the very top of the ridge here in the northeast section of the sonoma valley. those flames died down maybe
about two minutes ago but now as you can see, they are quite visible from where we are. we're about five miles away from those flames where an active firefight continues to unfold. in fact to the right, patrick sedillo, if you can pan over, we see a glow from the trees a couple of miles from where we are. those are where homes are burning and have burned in the last couple of hours. in fact i believe we have some video of some homes that were caught fire by embers according to firefighters in the last couple of hours. this is a home on castle road which sadly we were witnessing go up in flames. several other properties around it were also engulfed in flames. firefighters doing what they can to prevent othern the area from going up as well. we saw a lot of firefighters
parked in driveways, ready to protect any structures from embers, and those burning embers are really the culprit this morning. the winds have died down, i suppose that is a good situation here, because when we arrived a couple of hours ago in the valley of the moon, the winds had really kicked up. and that is the enemy of the firefighters. chris, you know, daybreak, wow, take a look at those embers, take a look at those flames at the top of the ridge. it's about five miles from where we are. we're in the northeast section of sonoma valley, as the crow flies we're about two miles from the center of downtown sonoma, the historic sonoma square, protecting homes in at it area. chris, you said there's about 400 homes in the mandatory evacuation zone. of course that is the priority right now. daybreak cannot come soon enough for these firefighters.
that is when air-drops can begin. it is too dangerous obviously to do air-drops when it is dark before sunrise. so obviously firefighters waiting with bated breath to start those air-drops. a man sitting in his driveway, he did not want to go on camera but he told us he had been warned by sheriff's department and firefighters he had been warned at least nine times to get out. he wasn't going to go anywhere, he was going to stay at home. he said, look, the flames are a couple of miles away. we said, yeah, we know, we advised him it might be a good idea for him to get out but he said for now he's staying put. we saw one other person on the street who did not want to go on camera but said they were staying in the neighborhood as well. that is the choice they have made. but it looks like most people, and it is a good idea, have
heeded the warning to leave the area, as flames continue to march across this ridge into the sonoma valley, chris. back to you now. >> cornell, in the past hour you had to move live locations because the flames were just too intense. describe, if you can, those conditions. >> reporter: chris, repeat the question, i'm sorry. >> so in the past hour you had to move live locations, at one point we had you live, in the next you were on the flown, and we saw the flying embers. now you're to safety, but describe those conditions, if you can, for our viewers at home. >> reporter: yeah, it was a scary situation, no doubt. we were on castle road, and we were surrounded by firefighters, but there was a home burning, and there were power lines about a block away that had been toppled by the smoke and the flames. but for the most part, a lot of
firefighters were just standing and watching this fire burn, because there were other priorities, sadly, in the neighborhood, that is protecting at least a dozen, two dozen, three dozen homes in that particular area. we saw one home burning. we do believe several homes around it had burned as well. couldn't tell if that was a home or a ranch. but this whole area, of course, as you know, surrounded by vineyards. this is historic, historic part of the bay area, historic part of wine country. in fact patrick sedillo showing some wine grapes here, the juxtaposition is so ironic with the flames coming across that ridge. but yeah, chris, a very scary situation. that's why we retreated. that's why we are now in a safer location here on lovall valley road. the firefight of course far from over. this is going to be something
that the firefighters are going to be tackling here in just a couple of hours, when they can get a better hold of extinguishing the flames with some air-drops. those air-drops no doubt are ready to go as soon as the sun comes up. >> you mentioned earlier that you had that encounter or those encounters with a couple of people who have chosen not to evacuate. we can only hope that those people don't get in the way of firefighters. >> reporter: yeah, you know, we have seen this time and time again. you know, from lake county to the fires up in the santa rosa area. folks who decide that they want to stay with their homes, despite the mandatory evacuation orders. at this point it would be a good idea, if you have not left your home, if you are in the mandatory evacuation order, to leave. it is the safest situation right now.
and, you know, firefighters in the area have told neighbors that if you don't leave, you are on your own, because the firefight is just too big to tackle. live in sonoma valley, cornell barnard, abc 7 news. the abc 7 news app sent out a push alert shortly after the mandatory evacuation orders were issued in sonoma valley. as always, download the abc 7 news app and enable push alerts to get breaking news updates as they happen. joining us on the phone is scott mclean with cal fire. scott, thanks so much for being with us. we appreciate it. let's talk about the poor air quality in the region right now. at levels that we haven't seen before, people are having a really hard time with this. >> as you can imagine, during these fires you're going to have that cold air that will cause an inversion layer that keeps the smoke down close to the ground. it's like a heavy, wet smoke.
>> and scott, i've interviewed you countless times at wildfires. talk to me a little bit right now about what cal fire is doing to help with the firefighting efforts but also with, you know, helping out with the evacuations that are in place. >> as you know, we're flexible on how mobile we are. the mandatory evacuation orders came out early this morning for sonoma valley as well as parts of santa rosa area. resources have been pouring out of this base camp much earlier this morning. strike teams have been going by on the freeway heading to these two areas to help mitigate the situation. >> scott, where's the base camp located? like what area, and how many people do you have there right now? what kind of shifts are they working? >> sonoma county fairgrounds is where the base camp is. we have currently 2900 individuals assigned to this
incident. and 24 hour shifts as standard. >> i can only imagine that fatigue is setting in for many of these firefighters who have been battling on the front lines for the past week. >> right. and, you know, they're doing real good, we've got some extra resources in. we got those resources from all over, surrounding the state of california, nevada, washington, oregon, arizona, even somebody from florida, and all parts in between. so the national guard has got over 2500 individuals helping us right now as well. so, you know, up and down the state with all these fires, we have helicopters, to give you an example, the retardant base in sacramento is pumping out hundreds of thousands of containers of retardant in the aircraft. it's a combination of things right now taking place. >> scott, you mentioned the mutual aid you're getting from multiple agencies throughout the country now coming to northern
california to help with these efforts. are those numbers in terms of personnel going to stay where they're at or do you anticipate a dip or maybe an increase in terms of those resources? >> there won't be a dip by any means. there will be a slight increase on that. forest service, we're receiving 60 hand crews in the state from the forest service throughout the nation. over 150 fire engines are coming from all across the nation. six bulldozers. that's just forest service. and then of course all the state agencies, fire services throughout, like i said, the nation as well have been sending us resources. so we still have more resources en route to the state. so it will go up. >> all right, scott mclean with cal fire, thanks so much for keeping us posted on the firefighting efforts out there in napa and sonoma. we appreciate your time. we'll check back in throughout the show. meteorologist lisa argen is here now.
lisa, you've been closely monitoring the weather conditions. any relief in terms of the wind anytime soon? >> no. in fact we're looking at 61-mile-an-hour wind gusts on top of mt. diablo. 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts along the coast. the winds will continue to increase throughout the morning hours, and especially after sunrise in the valley. that does not bode well for sonoma and napa. we are tracking the winds throughout the day. they'll weaken throughout the afternoon. i will show that to you and talk about rain which may enter our seven-day forecast.
mandatory evacuations are in effect in the north bay. it you're just joining us, this is new video of those flames being fueled by heavy winds on lovall valley road. flying embers, and you can see how the wind is playing a huge role this morning. we'll check in with lisa in just a little bit. this is what was issued at 2:20 this morning. sonoma county sheriff's office telling residents in the following areas that they need to evacuate immediately. 7th street east from east napa street to denmark street. also the north side of denmark from 7th street east to napa road. new evacuations also include, again, these are mandatory, 8 ofth street east north of denmark, easter macarthur street east of 7th as well as quail run way and hamblin road. new mandatory evacuations east
of santa rosa. sheriff's office says you must leave immediately if you live on highway 12 between adobe canyon road in kenwood and calistoga road in santa rosa, including both sides of highway 1, skyhawk, mountain hawk, and much of rincon valley. everyone living in spring valley and new long valley are being told to leave immediately. unfortunately gusty offshore winds will be increasing throughout the morning hours. look right here by the delta, fairfield winds straight out of the north at 31 miles an hour. at the surface, winds are calm, but upper elevations are looking at winds anywhere from 30 to 60 miles an hour. from atlas peak, just like we had sunday, out of the direction of the north, pushing the smoke into the east bay and points southward, and they'll continue to increase right after sunrise
through about 10:00 in the morning. because of that unhealthy air throughout the entire bay area today, except the santa rosa valley, the winds weaken this afternoon. so that means poor air quality tomorrow, which is better than we'll get today in the east bay and central bay. and then by next week we're looking at more of an onshore component. a critical time right now, as temperatures are going up. that will decrease the relative humidity throughout the afternoon. we're already 13 to 16 degrees warmer. and so that means with higher temperatures, lower relative humidity, those gusty winds allowing for the fires to start quicker, spread faster, and looking at temperatures now already at 60 in the city. so the visibility in miles due to smoke has been reduced from concord, hayward, even down through san jose, as the winds are coming out of the north and east. they're pushing that smoke to the south. and so that of course is the reason for the poor air quality. here is a look at the wind gusts in the next 24 hours. 8:00 by fairfield. we're still up in the range of
30 miles an hour. and then by 11:00, we'll decrease that by about five miles an hour. by the afternoon, things really do improve as the winds decrease. and then we'll look at the winds really bottom out throughout the 11:00 hour. now, normally we do get our breeziest winds right after sunrise. and that sun coming up at about 7:11. in the valley, you'll notice those winds kicking up. now, look at the profile throughout the entire bay area today. watch the colors here, the oranges. this is where the winds will continue to increase from napa, unfortunately sonoma, fairfield. this is 8:00, just the next couple of hours. even breezy over in oakland, discovery bay up to 24 miles an hour. and then as we go into 11:00, notice the winds still continue over 20 miles an hour. but they are weakening elsewhere, pushing all that smoke to the south. by later on in the day, we're looking at winds really calming down. within the next couple of hours, that's why we have the red flag
wrnings in effect right on through 5:00. right now the humidity is up, 60%. 66% in napa. look what happens with those northeast winds and the higher temperatures today. by 2:00, we're down to 10% in santa rosa, 9% in cloverdale, 18% in concord. so exactly what we don't need. but as we go through the evening hours, the relative humidity comes back up. a warmer day today with the hazy, smoky sky, unhealthy air. a spare the air alert, highs in the low 80s inland, 70s in san francisco. the accuweather seven-day forecast, we're warm today. warmer tomorrow into monday, that should be our hottest day. if you download our accuweather app, that will include the advisories. the good news is with the cooler temperatures we're bringing in more clouds. it looks like some wetting rains arriving thursday into friday, and that will be fantastic news with much cooler air. >> we've also posted all this information online at abc7news.com as well. lisa, thank yo
we've been monitoring social media this morning. this is the latest post from the city of santa rosa's facebook page. here you can see the city is telling its residents that there is an evacuation center at finley community center at 2060 west college avenue, as well as the sonoma county fairgrounds at
1350 bennett valley road. if you're in santa rosa and you are affected by these evacuation orders, these are two places that you can go to for help right now. again, finley community center, as well as the sonoma county fairgrounds. here is a look at those evacuations on this map. the sonoma county sheriff's office saying you must leave immediately if you live in the following areas. highway 12 between adobe canyon road in kenwood and calistoga road in santa rosa. this includes both sides of highway 12, skyhawk, mountain hawk, and much of rincon valley. keep it here.
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ends sunday. visit sleepnumber.com for a store near you. thanks so much for joining us, i'm chris nguyen. breaking news, several new mandatory evacuations. the latest in lake county, officials urge everyone living in spring valley and new long valley areas to leave immediately. if you can't get out because the roads are blocked, officials say that you'll need to shelter in place or evacuate to the spring valley community center on wolf creek road. also new mandatory evacuations in place in eastern santa rosa. the sonoma accoucounty sheriff' office says you must leave if you live in highway 12 between adobe canyon road in kenwood and calistoga road in santa rosa. this includes both sides of highway 12, skyhawk, mountain
hawk, and much of rincon valley. also new mandatory evacuations in the sonoma valley. these are the areas here that you need to -- if you live in these areas, you need to evacuate immediately. 7th street east from east napa street to denmark street. also the north side of denmark street from 7th street east to napa road. new mandatory evacuations also include 8th street east north of denmark, east macarthur street east of 7th, also equal run way and hamblin road. again, these are mandatory evacuations, not voluntary. if you look at the bottom of the your screen, we're scrolling information on all evacuation or in effect right now. and also i want to point out that if you're watching us at home and you're getting ready to evacuate, you can turn on your abc 7 news app or start streaming us from abc7news.com on your mobile device. that way you can continue hearing the latest information as we're getting it. we're passing it on to you.
so make sure to grab your phone, your important documents, also your cellphone chargers, because that will certainly be helpful. also if you have an external battery supply, that's going to be key throughout the day as you are away from possibly a power source. okay. also the sonoma county sheriff's office just sent out this tweet saying that buses are staged at the safeway on highway 12 and calistoga road for anybody who needs transportation out of the area. abc 7 news reporter cornell barnard joins us in sonoma county at napa street and victoria court. cornell, earlier this morning you saw a home engulfed in flames on castle road, you had to leave to go to a safer area. what can you tell us about the situation out there? >> reporter: the situation continues to get more dramatic, more tense by the minute, chris. take a look at this ridge. we're about a mile, mile and a half from where flames, giant
flames are marching ever so close to the sonoma valley. this is the northeast section of the sonoma valley right now, where this is really a brand-new firefight, where smoke and flames have erupted on the ridge. we're about a mile and a half, like i said, from populated areas. we see a home here. there are acres and acres of vineyards. about 400 homes are now under mandatory evacuation orders. those evacuation orders, as chris mentioned, came down several hours ago from the sonoma county sheriff's department. and this is the reason why. you see those dramatic flames coming across the ridge. and there was actually another firefight going on about three miles on the other side. that is out of our view right now. but we showed you that about 30 minutes ago. that is another firefight which
continues to jeopardize this entire area. let's show you some video of a house, i believe that's what we're going to show, that was burning about an hour and a half ago on castle road. that is, as the crow flies, a couple of miles from where we are. we witnessed this. firefighters were nearby but could do nothing to save the homes. the winds were the biggest culprit, the winds were really whipping up. there was a dramatic firefight, dramatic firefight in the neighborhood. firefighters were positioned in driveways trying to protect other structures. as far as we could tell, they were successful in preventing that fire from spreading to other areas in the neighborhood. very dense neighborhood, very much populated with a lot of vineyards in the area. let's come back live and show you those dramatic flames which continue to get ever so close to
the homes here. it looks like maybe about a mile and a half, two miles from where we are standing right now, this is the northeast portion of the valley of the moon, sonoma valley. we're about three miles from the historic downtown sonoma square, everybody knows that. this is surrounded by beloved vineyards, beloved wineries, beautiful, beautiful area, which is now threatened by fire. there is an army, and i can't -- that's the only word i can describe, there's an army of firefighters all around us, staging this massive firefight. sunrise cannot come soon enough. so air tankers can start dropping flame retardant and water on these flames that really are surrounding much of the sonoma valley at this hour. this is a very serious situation. those mandatory evacuations were the no issued lightly.
if you are in the mandatory evacuation zone, you really need to leave your home now, it is the safest thing to do. about 45 minutes ago, we saw a few people in the neighborhood. one man sitting in his truck, in his driveway, saying no, he's not going to leave. he said he had been warned by sheriff's department and firefighters at least ten to seven times in the last three hours, get out, get out. but he said he wasn't going anywhere. other people have heeded the warning, it appears. we have not seen hide nor hair of anyone in this neighborhood. i knocked on a few doors earlier, thought i saw a light on, but it seems like everyone has gotten their personal belongings, their loved ones, their pets, and decided to get out. that is really the best situation at this point. gosh, look at these flames. they continue to lap the ridge here in the northeast section of the sonoma valley. lisa argen talked about the winds. the winds have died down for a moment here. but, you know, about five minutes ago, they were really whipping up.
this is the enemy of the firefighters, folks. these winds are really the enemy of the firefighters. and they continue to push the smoke, push the flames forward. and those numbers are another culprit, embers can travel several miles according to one firefighter we talked to, and, you know, set structures on fire. and we've certainly hoped those winds die down in the next couple of hours. chris? >> cornell, the last time we saw you, the flames were barely visible, we saw a lot of smoke. but it appears the flames are getting closer, is that the case from your vantage point? >> reporter: yeah, we have moved our location, but yes, they are getting closer. this is a brand-new fire, according to our purview. there is another fire burning to
the -- i guess would be the northern area of this particular part of the valley. hey, patrick sedillo, come on down here. in fact, chris, just a couple of minutes ago, this is another firefight going on here in the north part of the sonoma valley. you've got two major fires that are burning in the wild land areas surrounding the sonoma valley. this is the northeast part of the valley. 400 homes, an estimated 400 homes, now under mandatory evacuation notices. these homes certainly are threatened. that's why that mandatory evacuation notice went out. again, an army of firefighters really all around us. you cannot get into this neighborhood. but the firefighters are stationed pretty much all around us, ready to protect these homes if need be. several homes, like we have said, have been lost.
but for the most part, the projection of these homes continue. air-drops can't happen until day breaks. we are starting to see a little bit of light here. that is the good news. but man oh man, those flames continue to jump, i don't know, hundreds of feet into the air, certainly. we see some die down, then another part of the area, they continue to jump into the sky. this is a serious situation, mandatory evacuations now in effect. most people, most people have heeded those warnings. that certainly is a good sign here. back to you, chris. >> cornell, fire crews, city and county officials are using social media to get the word out about these evacuations. but as you said earlier, they're also going door to door in some spots. >> reporter: yeah, we have seen
some firefighters going door to door. they're also trying to protect structures as best we can. we saw that on castle road, firefighters parked on driveway up and down that road. we left the area because there was a power line down about a block from where we were. obviously a very dangerous situation. and with those embers and with the winds blowing, it's -- all bets are off. and those embers could certainly light other homes on fire. we had not seen that other than one or two structures that had burned on castle road. but yeah, that was the case. like i said, army of firefighters just about everywhere. i'm going to get out of the road here. some firefighters have gone door to door. we saw a team of sheriff's deputies that were walking down the street, knocking on doors, just to make sure everyone has gotten out. you cannot see it but we can hear sprinklers just about
everywhere, every neighborhood that we've turned to, we hear the sprinklers going on roofs, people's yards, to soak everything down. people taking precautions, precautions obviously before they headed out just to make sure their homes were safe. we'll send it back to you, chris. >> cornell barnard live in sonoma county for us, thank you, cornell, we'll see you soon. joining us on the phone is daniel burlant with cal fire, thank you so much for being with us this morning. let's talk about the firefighting efforts and what cal fire is doing right now to, you know, obviously contain the fire. what's the main focus? >> well, right now obviously mandatory evacuations for the northeastern corner of sonoma as well as some additional parts of santa rosa. we have continued to bring in resources that were -- had been working 24 hours yesterday, who
had then been relieved with new crews. they were going to sleep. we are bringing them back to make sure we have enough firefighters to continue this fight. strong wind out of the north, these are winds coming and pushing this fire into kind of a south-southwesterly direction, that's what's challenging us this morning. >> daniel, cal fire certainly has its hands full with the fires up here in northern california, also down in the los angeles region. let's talk about that massive response, the mutual aid you're getting from multiple agencies across the country. >> yeah, right now we're battling over a dozen large fires burning, over 10,000 firefighters are on the front lines, these are firefighters from cal fire, from sonoma county, napa county, and every county in between. in fact we've brought resources early in the week from southern california, central california, all to help battle these fires. we've brought in thousands of firefighters from other states,
not only to give us more resources on the current fires burning but with these red flag warning conditions right now across northern california, the likelihood of new fires igniting is increased. in fact already this morning we're battling a new fire in lake county, 20 acres just east of clear lake oaks, causing evacuation. so this morning these winds are definitely not working in our favor. >> daniel, while i have you on the phone, so these are mandatory evacuations that are in place, not voluntary. so obviously many of us know the difference between mandatory and voluntary. but if you could, talk about the decisionmaking process that goes into making an evacuation order mandatory as opposed to voluntary. >> well, we really have to weigh it out very seriously, especially in the middle of the night. it's very chaotic, waking people up, trying to get ahold of residents is very difficult. but because this fire shifted, and the winds picked up so quickly, we had no choice early,
early this morning, but to call for those evacuations. they are mandatory because there is the potential that this fire will burn into those areas. again, we're only talking right now about the northeastern portion of the town of sonoma, not the entire town. but in the middle of the night, we want residents of santa rosa sunday night, they didn't have this luxury, embers were already raining down before evacuations were called. so we're trying to give residents as much advance notice as possible. in many aspects we're asking people to leave now. >> daniel, i've covered a lot of fires and spoken with you countless times over the past few years. there are going to be people who don't listen to these mandatory evacuation orders and will stay put. cornell er abobarnard told us he to a man who said he's going to stay put despite being told nine times to get out of his home.
so to viewers who are choosing to stay in their homes as opposed to link to evacuation orders, what kind of advice you have for them? >> you're not only putting yourself at risk but you're putting our firefighters at risk. when it becomes too late and your home is on fire and you begin to panic and now you try to evacuate, now you're trapped. and now we'll have to pull firefighters off the lines from finding the fire and go into rescue mode. that's what we had to do sunday night because of how quickly the fire burned. those residents didn't have the opportunity to evacuate. residents that are in evacuation areas must leave early, because if you do not, it will be much more difficult. most residents that stay behind panic at the last minute when the embers are raining down, it's chaotic, you can't see, you get disoriented, you may not know which way to get out, and the roads may be blocked, power lines, trees, other hazards will block your way. please, for our firefighters' sake, evacuate early. that's critical. >> and for our viewers who are
just joining us this morning here on "abc 7 mornings," and just tuning in and hearing about these evacuation orders for the first time, daniel, if you could, what are the most important things that they need to grab very quickly and then obviously head out the door? >> you know, what we're asking residents, especially those in the evacuation advisory areas or anybody living in the north bay, to be prepared. make sure you put all your important documents, your birth certificates, passports, the irreplaceable items, photographs, put all of those in one central location. prescription, clothing, anything and everything that you'll need to have and to evacuate, put it in one location. put it in the back of your car. that way, when you feel unsafe or that evacuation notice is given, you can quickly go to your car and drive off, and everything is there. all too often i talk to people who choose not to evacuate or wait until the last minute, and once they're evacuated, all they
grab is the closest things available to them. they're not able to think and they're not able to find the things that are actually important to them. spend that time, ensure you have it all set and ready to go. so when those evacuation orders are given, you can leave within minutes. >> you talked about the windy conditions earlier. let's circle back to that. flying embers are really a huge concern, right? they can travel for miles? >> absolutely. when we're seeing winds of 20 miles an hour, you know, gusts even stronger, 45, 50 miles per hour, these embers will rain down sometimes a mile ahead of the fire. that's what we saw in santa rosa sunday night, the head of the fire was -- or the wind, i should say, was carrying these embers a very great distance. the embers are raining down on the homes. sometimes not even anywhere near the actual fire itself. and that's why you start to see homes in very urban areas in the middle of subdivisions,
surrounded by concrete and roads, catch on fire, because embers rain down. the embers catch one house on fire, that house goes up, because of the wind the flames spread to the next door neighbor's, and it's a domino effect. that's what we saw in santa rosa, that's what we're concerned about today. >> fatigue is starting to set in for these firefighters, many of whom have been working 24-hour shifts. you mentioned earlier you're starting to bring some of those firefighters back as they come in from fighting on the front lines. what is cal fire doing to ensure the safety of the crews? >> we are going nearly a week now of these fires all across northern california. firefighter fatigue, firefighter safety is always one of our priorities. whenever we bring in firefighters, we bring them in so we have enough to allow for a rotation of crews, meaning typically on a wildfire, we're going to work our firefighters 24 hours a day.
they're going to be on the front lines, battling the fire 24 hours straight. then we're going to bring them back to our base camp, give them food, put them in lodging, and they'll have 24 hours off to sleep and to rest and to recuperate, and then they're back out on the front lines for another 24 hours. so we're rotating them in these shifts. that's what we've determined to be the best rest/work cycle for firefighters to work safely and efficiently. again, a week-long fires, we're waking up firefighters that would normally be sleeping, because it's all hands on deck. >> thank you so much for joining us this morning. we'll keep your advice posted online at abc7news.com as well. abc 7 news reporter cornell barnard joins us live in sonoma county at napa street and victoria court. the last time we spoke you said firefighters were battling two
fires in sonoma county, and you have an interview you want to get to. >> reporter: yeah, chris, i want to show you the latest firefight. this is massive flames on the ridge in the northeast section of the sonoma valley which continue to march ever so close to populated areas here in sonoma valley. we're a coupe of miles from the town of sonoma. joining us live is captain tony mchale, ventura fire department, working on behalf of cal fire this week. very tense situation, very serious situation. tell us what's going on. >> it really has been a stressful situation this morning. we were anticipating a wind event tonight and also low relative humidities. these are the kind of things that make fire behavior what they are, critical. there's a lot of unburned fuel, dry fuel to the east of the city, very rugged terrain, receptive fuel bed, you name it. on the eastern side of the city, we have mandatory evacuation in place. the power is out in the area. we urge the public to please
pack up and leave the area to allow firefighters to get in here and engage the fire. >> reporter: tell me what's going on at this fire right here. i mean, a couple of miles away, but way too close for you guys, right? >> the fire got some wind on it, and it's in heavy fuels. right now it looks like it's backing down the slope here. with the winds being as erratic, they're bringing in engine companies for construction protection ops. the priority is human lives and then property. so law enforcement is working very hard getting people out of harm's way. it's a coordinated effort. we've been here for a few days. we're on it, we're going to stay here until the job is done. >> reporter: it seems like there was another fire burning on the ridge behind you. >> yes, up further to the north. i haven't done a full recon. this is a complex, what they call multiple fire sites. sometimes it's hard to get all the information together. but we're on it, we're getting on it. >> reporter: we saw several homes burning, castle road area. can you tell us anything about
those. ? >> i've received reports of some structures that were burning. but we haven't verified them. i really can't comment on specificati specifics with that. we heard reports of structures destroyed. >> reporter: the fire we're looking at here, will that be it with air-drops as soon as the sun comes up? >> we'll have to assess that when the sun comes up, to see if conditions allow for using aircraft. we take the opportunities to go after the fire any way we can. >> reporter: i know you guys are doing everything you can. there's army of firefighters all around this town trying to protect it. >> it's extraordinary, there's upwards of 8,000 firefighters in this area. the california mutual aid system is second to none. it's in full force here. i'm from ventura county. we have agencies from all over california, even out of the state. >> reporter: wow. all right. captain, thank you so much for your time. >> you bet. >> reporter: we certainly appreciate it. good luck out there. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: good luck out there, as we see the smoke and the flames continue to get ever
so close to this populated area, chris, back to you. >> and cornell, earlier you mentioned that this area just resonates with so many people. so many people come up here, or come up there, rather, for tourism purposes. they have friends and family. i can't even imagine what those people are going through right now. >> reporter: absolutely. this is one of the most beautiful, as far as i'm concerned, one of the most beautiful parts of california wine country. there are hills all around us. and those hills now are covered in smoke and lots of flames, like the captain said, there are two fire fights going on right now. multiple complex fire. flames burning to the north and to the east in this area. he said, and it makes sense, the power is out. that's why we didn't see a lot of porch lights on. but most people, this is just
conjecture on my part, but most people have heeded that mandatory evacuation alert and have gotten out. >> and cornell, you mentioned earlier, daybreak is really going to be playing a huge role, key to the firefighting efforts with cal fire. >> reporter: yeah, the captain said as soon as daybreak comes, and that's just a few minutes away, they will reassess this firefight and decide how to tackle it. we imagine we will be seeing here in the next 30 minutes air-drops with air tankers, perhaps even the 747 that we saw up in santa rosa area, the geyserville area. if ever an airdrop was needed, it would be right about now. the winds continuing to kick up just a bit. and you see the smoke continuing to be carried really to the
south. and firefight certainly not over here, chris. >> cornell barnard live for us in sonoma county this morning. we want to get right to meeting lisa argen. cornell mentioned those winds, lisa. >> yes, they're certainly increasing, chris. in fact the strongest winds will be from 9:00 to 10:00 this morning. we're looking wind gusts in napa, higher elevations, already at 42 miles an hour around at lack peak and knoxville peak. you heard the firefighters talk about how those embers can travel a great distance before with those winds, yes, this is what we're afraid of. even in oakland we're looking at those breezy winds. these will continue right on through the 10:00 hour. by the delta, looking at gusty winds by fairfield, 22-mile-per-hour winds. a look at fairfield, you remain gusty out of the north, northeast 11:00. by the afternoon, after 12:00,
we'll see those winds dial back. you're looking at visibility issues from smoke in the east bay, as these winds are pushing out of the north, sending the smoke through concord, hayward, even san jose. and looking at the air quality today and tomorrow, unhealthy pretty much everywhere except in the santa clara valley. as the winds dial back tonight, the air quality improves to poor in the inland east bay and south central bay. by monday and tuesday, more of an onshore component. that's exactly what we need with higher recruitmelative humidity. this is all being fanned by a red flag warning with us through 9:00 tomorrow. relative humidity dropping to 10 to 15%. as those winds push out of the northeast, that's how we can get those fires starting with those embers moving as far as a mile ahead of the fire. and that's what happened in santa rosa as they moved down to urban areas. with that, we have the red flag
warning for the upper elevations, and now these winds have realized around mt. diablo over 60 miles per hour. not to be out done in the east bay, 30 miles per hour in upper elevations of oakland. your relative humidity will be dropping into the 10 to 20% range. so until 5:00, the winds will be kicking up in these areas from the east bay, livermore, even into mt. hamilton, and certainly up through sonoma, napa, parts of marin county which could also bring down some power lines. in terms of temperatures, yes, this is also creating a hazard, where the numbers increase. we're looking at the lower relative humidity, 23 degrees warmer on the coast today due to that wind. we're well into the 60s from san francisco to the delta right now. but where you're not having those breezy winds, numbers are ranging down to the 40s in gilroy, novato, and santa rosa. looking at the sunrise, sun coming up at 7:17, when
downsloping winds will push into the valley, increasing within the next hour. you're starting out with 40s and 50s, hazy conditions. we'll have the bad air quality hard to breathe throughout the day. by the afternoon, the winds relax. if we can get through the next five to six hours, then we'll be able to see some improving conditions hopefully helping out the firefighters or at least not hindering their efforts. the accuweather seven-day forecast then featuring warm days today, tomorrow, into monday. and you download our accuweather app, you can track the winds and temperatures understanding neighborhood. hoping for some rain thursday and friday, chris. >> lisa, thank you so much. you're watching continuing breaking news coverage of the north bay fires. a programming note are instead of going to "good morning america," we're going to stay on the air due to the ongoing threats being caused by these fires. so this morning, a slew of new mandatory evacuations are in place. this is new video you're seeing of the flames being fueled by heavy winds on lovall road.
flying embers really playing a role in public safety and the threats to public safety. so here's what we know. at 2:20 morning, the sonoma county sheriff's office told residents in the following areas that they need to evacuate right away. again, this is happening right now. 7th street east from east napa street to denmark street. also the north side of denmark street from 7th street east to napa road. new evacuation efforts, mandatory, also include 8th street east, north of denmark street. east macarthur street, east of 7th street. quail run way and hamblin road. also new mandatory evacuations in eastern santa rosa, the sonoma county sheriff's office saying you must leave immediately if you live in highway 12 between adobe canyon road in kenwood and calistoga road in santa rosa, including both sides of highway 12, skyhawk, mountain hawk, and much of rincon valley.
the latest in lake county, officials there are urging everyone living in the spring valley and new long valley area to leave immediately. we also want to take a look at the containment figures from cal fire this morning, lisa. the atlas fire grew by a couple of,000 acres overnight. it's now more than 50,000 acres. it is 45% conteco talks about it fire 44% contained. fires in sonoma county have now been included in one complex fire, 10% contained. mendocino county, containment on the redwood potter fires is 20%. sulphur fire in lake county is now 60% contained. so a lot of information that we're getting in this morning. we're processing it for you. we're delivering it. and also posting it on our
mobile platforms and abc7news.com. and the weather forecast, you were mentioning earlier, lisa, there's some rain in the forecast ahead? >> right. but the critical fire weather really is right now, between now through 10:00, 11:00. after sunrise, the winds will be increasing. we'll get downsloping winds, gusty winds from upper elevations pushing those winds into the valley. from around 9:00, 10:00, >> thanks for watching us here on abc 7 news. we'll stay on the air to bring you continuing coverage of the fires burn