Dramatic Videos Show California Bridge As Fires Burn On Both Sides
The Carquinez Bridge near Vallejo was closed as gusty winds fueled brush fires on either side.
Dramatic videos showed drivers crossing the Carquinez Bridge in Northern California on Sunday, before authorities shut it down as fires burned on both sides.
Authorities had diverted traffic in both directions of Interstate 80 south of Vallejo by Sunday afternoon, and the fires forced evacuations in the small community of Crockett for several hours on the south side of the bridge as well as the California State University Maritime Academy to the north.
Flames were first reported in Vallejo Sunday morning, and about two hours later, a fire began across the water of the Carquinez Strait. It wasn't immediately clear if embers from the first fire sparked the second, but the area was experiencing extreme gusts of wind as well as dry conditions.
As winds whipped up the fires, some drivers were crossing the roughly 3,000-foot bridge. One woman tweeted a video showing smoke surrounding the bridge.
"I can't believe they're letting us drive through this," she says in the video.
Another video shows cars passing by billowing flames.
John Upton, the editor of research organization Climate Central, tweeted videos he recorded while passing the bridge by on the train.
"The warm, dry, windy conditions around the Bay Area today are baleful," Upton tweeted. "Fires are destroying homes and wineries and triggering evacuations amid mass blackouts."
Local TV station KTVU posted a video that shows the fires creeping up to the waterfront.
People were also posting dramatic videos from the other bank, showing smoke blocking out the sky after the bridge was closed.
In one video, a man is filming the smoke and embers as he waits to turn around and be rerouted.
"A friend said last night, about the sunset, 'It looks apocalyptic.' It kind of is. This may be the new normal," the man says in the video.
The fires didn't immediately appear to cause major damage.
Meanwhile, the Kincade fire in Sonoma County had grown to 30,000 acres on Sunday, destroying dozens of homes and prompting the evacuation of about 180,000 people.
"This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff’s Office can remember," the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office tweeted. "Take care of each other."
An estimated 3 million people were also without power as Pacific Gas & Electric shut down electricity over concerns that high winds could down power lines and spark fires.
In response to the fires and extreme weather conditions, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Dangerous fire conditions were expected to continue through Monday morning.