In Anaheim Hills, Joey Borgese, 33, and his neighbor Mike McCall, 49, climbed up a steep dusty hillside and surveyed the path the fire had carved through the rolling hills down the street from their homes.
Borgese had seen one home further up the hill smoldering earlier in the day.
"It wasn't super green or anything, but it was covered in brush," said Borgese, pointing to the now scorched hillside emitting wisps of smoke. Most homes appeared to be spared despite abutting the burned hill, where Borgese said he'd often walk his dogs. A pillar of dark smoke could be seen beyond the hill.
In Sonoma County, there have been seven fire-related deaths, said Misti Harris, community engagement liaison with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. She had no further information about the fatalities.
In addition, two died in the Atlas fire in Napa County, according to CalFire. One person died as result of the Redwood Valley fire in Mendocino County.
Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove Lodge, an LGBT retirement community, was evacuated shortly after midnight, said executive director Robert May. The building is in Fountaingrove, a neighborhood that was hardest hit by the fire.
However, Villa Capri, an assisted living community center owned by the people who own the lodge, burned down, he said. Residents from all the continuing care facilities are being transported to Montecito or Berkeley.
“It was a harrowing experience,” May said of the evacuation. “The flames were right in front of us.”
Emergency responders are setting up command centers to handle the multiple fires in Napa and Sonoma counties. The first wave of logistics crews are erecting a command center at the Napa County Expo Center, in Napa, for the Atlas fire.
The Tubbs fire command center is in Sonoma County, and state emergency planners might build a central command for wine country incidents.
Driving up to Napa from Riverside, Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Mike Smith said the team was waylaid by a fire in Kern County and now they understand there is one burning back home as well, creating the impression the whole state is beset by fire. “The wind won’t stop,” he said.
More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated as the Canyon fire rapidly spread to more than 2,000 acres Monday afternoon, burning at least six homes, fire officials said.
"Extreme winds" were causing spot fires well ahead of the fire line, frustrating the firefight, said Daron Wyatt, public information officer for Anaheim Fire and Rescue. The fire was 0% contained.
Officials said they had no information on what caused the fire, which broke out at the same spot as the earlier Canyon fire but was burning toward the west rather than east, consuming the unburnt brush left from the previous blaze.
Devran Finestein, 21, showed up for his afternoon shift as a cashier at an Anaheim Hills gas station looking like he was in a war zone — a white T-shirt wrapped around his face, orange ski goggles and hydration backpack. He rode an electric bike.
He had just helped his father evacuate from his home in Anaheim Hills, loading financial documents, his father's cat and his own snowboarding gear into his father's car. He rode his bike through gridlocked streets jammed with evacuating residents, and past at least one sizable cul-de-sac house in flames. He passed out masks and bottles of water to those he saw on foot.
"I was just trying to help people," he said. "Serrano was already getting it," he said, referring to a nearby street where he saw houses burn.