Dramatic dashcam video shows Sonoma police officers driving through a smoke-filled street as bright orange flames light up trees and buildings, a stark image of the fast-moving wildfire in California’s wine country that has already destroyed thousands of acres and homes.
The Somona County Sheriff’s Office posted the 11-second clip on Facebook on Wednesday showing residents the dangerous conditions the wildfire caused in the neighborhood.
“One of our Deputies working the night the Fire began shot a quick video of the conditions the Deputies and Fire Personnel were facing at the onset of the Fire. This particular stretch of roadway was in the area of Franz Valley Rd at the onset of the fire's entrance to Sonoma County,” the post stated.
It continued: “As both the Sheriff's Office and a County Agency full of Sonoma County residents, we are proud of all who have risked harm to help each other out in times of peril. This is but one moment in a series of moments that will end up defining the strength of our Community through what will be a pinnacle moment in Sonoma County history.”
The short clip shows embers flying toward the police vehicle's windshield, with the driver already suffering from extremely low visibility. Flames engulfed buildings and danced on trees on both sides of the road.
The video had received more than 700 reactions and 500 shares as of Wednesday.
A mandatory evacuation was issued in several parts of Sonoma Valley after the blaze grew to 44 square miles on Wednesday. The fire began north of San Francisco on Sunday night and spread rapidly due to dry conditions and the hot weather. Firefighters’ efforts to suppress the flames have been complicated by gusting winds.
The wildfire has burned through nearly 170,000 acres and destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses, killing 17 people — 11 in Sonoma County — and injuring 180 others.