Local resources, including San Diego firefighters, are being deployed to help battle three fast-moving wildfires north of Napa, which are becoming a rapidly evolving crisis.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday issued an emergency proclamation for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
"It was an inferno like you've never seen before," Sonoma County resident Marian Williams told NBC News. She caravanned with neighbors through flames before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.
San Diego firefighters are en route to help.
"We received a request to send two Strike teams to Napa. They will leave today, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz. "We backfill their work shifts with overtime staff so there is no change to the level of service for San Diegans."
San Diego Cal Fire resources are also loading up to deploy late morning Monday. They planned to leave around noon from Red Mountain Station in Fallbrook.
Heartland Fire dispatched five Type 3 brush engines.
The National Weather Service said widespread wind gusts between 35 mph and 50 mph were observed in the north San Francisco Bay region and isolated spots hit 70 mph. The winds were expected to subside at midday.
In the Bay area, emergency lines were inundated with callers reporting smoke in the area, prompting officials to ask that the public "only use 911 if they see actual unattended flames, or are having another emergency."
California's mutual aid plan for fighting wildfires is praised across the nation, and even seen as a worldwide model for fighting wildfires, according to multiple local fire agencies.
A "strike team" is composed of similar resources, common communications and a leader, called a "chief officer."
Lakeside Fire Chief Don Butz said the system allows for more efficient communications and faster responses.
Cal Fire tweeted that as many as 8,000 homes were threatened in Nevada County, which lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. More than 50 structures already burned in the fast-moving Atlas fire in Napa.