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Wine County Residents Share Tales Of Harrowing Escapes

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Major Fires Breaking Out in Northern California; Structures, Vehicles Burning, Evacuations Ongoing, Victims Injured

"It was an inferno like you've never seen before", Marian Williams, who escaped through flames before dawn near the town of Kenwood in Sonoma County, told AP.

Petaluma Fire Department said that three engines had been sent to Santa Rosa to assist with the blaze and extra personnel was called in to protect Petaluma.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Sonoma, Napa and Uva counties on Monday.

Video from residents in the area shows the frantic evacuation efforts that unfolded Monday morning.

The Sonoma Valley High School has been designated as the evacuation center for Sonoma Valley residents affected by fire.

Authorities have implemented forced evacuations in several rural neighborhoods and worked to clear out hospitals and senior centers in northwestern Santa Rosa.

The state's fire chief said at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings have been destroyed, numerous people have been injured and a number of residents are also missing. And that was just the beginning.

The Nuns fire burning in Sonoma County north of Glen Ellen has torched 300 acres, according to Cal Fire.

"I'm probably not going to", she said.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kurtis Alexander shared footage on Twitter on Monday of both a Hilton hotel and a Kmart on fire in Santa Rosa.

Weather.com is reporting on a second blaze, named the "Atlas Peak" fire, which has already consumed 31 square miles, forcing fire-fighters to spread resources as near-hurricane force winds fueled the intensity of the multiple firestorms. The Napa County Animal Shelter will hold smaller animals.

CAL FIRE says the Lobo Fire is threatening between 7,000 and 8,000 homes.

Along with Kaiser Permanente hospital, Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa was also evacuated. The Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park was also opened as an evacuation center.

With so many fires, residents of Sonoma County struggled to figure out what roads to take, finding downed trees or flames blocking some routes.

Forecasters said winds were expected to ease by middday Monday. "We are not on scene yet and haven't been able to determine the best evacuation route". The city has been concerned about the Browns Valley area in the west and the Alta Heights area in the east and has bulldozers helping to put in fire lines. KPIX reported flames near the Domaine Carneros winery.

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