Pro recounts evacuation from Safeway Open as wildfires rip through Napa Valley

Monday October 9th, 2017
0:49 | Tour & News
Brendan Steele repeats as Safeway Open champion
Brendan Steele won the Safeway Open for the second straight year. He edged Tony Finau and Phil Mickelson.

More than a dozen wildfires ripped through California's wine country on early Monday morning, causing Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties.

The fire came in the immediate aftermath of the Safeway Open, which concluded Sunday evening at the Silverado Resort in Napa. Several images captured Monday morning by AP photographer Josh Edelson showed greenside tents that had gone up in flames, and the entire resort was evacuated.

The Silverado Resort, home of the PGA Tour's Safeway Open, was evacuated late Sunday as wildfires swept through the region.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Several players were still staying on site and were evacuated in the middle of the night, including Patton Kizzire, Kyle Thompson, and Maverick McNealy.

"We were in our room and could hear the wind ripping," Thompson told GOLF.com. "Also faintly smelled smoke, the power flickered and I heard some yelling outside the room so I went to check. I saw the entire horizon of the mountains on fire and the wind was pumping from that direction.

"I sprinted back to the room," Thompson continued, "and grabbed my 1-year-old from his crib."

Thompson was still in the area Monday afternoon, wondering whether to fly home or if there was hope of collecting the possessions that he had left in his room upon evacuation.

Dry conditions and high winds meant that the fires spread quickly.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

"Silverado Resort and Spa is currently closed in response to escalating wildfires in the local area," read a statement posted on the resort's website.

Several players tweeted about the situation:

Silverado was closed Monday to all except emergency personnel. "Currently, the resort structures are intact," wrote the resort's Twitter account, although it also wrote that there were "no updates at this time." According to the Associated Press, the fires had destroyed at least 1,500 homes and forced tens of thousands out of their houses as of midday Monday, although the number of affected structures was likely to rise.

A hospitality tent burns the morning after the conclusion of the Safeway Open.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Crews had not yet been able to contain a fire headed toward downtown Napa, although the Weather Channel said high winds were expected to die down around midday.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered after the blazes broke out late Sunday. Long lines formed at gas stations when many families heeded a middle-of-the-night call to get out.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, the New York Times was reporting that at least ten people had died in the fires, while firefighters continued to battle the remaining blazes. 

To support relief efforts for the Napa and Sonoma county fires, check out the crowdfunding page here: https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires.

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