Western New Yorkers prepare for impact from California wildfires

Flames from a wildfire burn Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. The fire is one of several burning across Northern California's wine country. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As of Tuesday evening, 20,000 people have had to evacuate the Napa Valley region.

15 hundred homes have been destroyed, and 150 people are missing.

Leaders say the fires are spreading fast, and the victims are mainly elderly people who can’t get out quickly.

We spoke with University at Buffalo student, Rachel Seah who is from American Canyon, just 10 miles south of Napa.

Her family has bags packed just in case they need to evacuate.

Buffalo Bills Linebacker Tanner Vallejo is originally from the Northern California area.

He tweeted this: “prayers up to my family and everyone else who had to evacuate their homes fire a fire back home.”

Mindy Callahan, originally from Clarence goes to school about 10 miles outside of the hardest hit region, in the Anaheim area.

So far, her school has not been evacuated, but leaders are monitoring air quality. She tells News 4 about the billows of smoke she sees driving near her home.

She said, “It reminded me of driving through like the Akron or Basom area where it was really foggy on a fall day, but instead of fog, it was thick smoke. It was about 270 degrees of just thick red clouds, and I’m assuming its because the sun was blocked by thick smoke. The whole sky just looked crimson. And if it did pass through, it would be quite a tragedy.”

Callahan says the silver lining is that campus safety has been communicating safety tips and updating students on whether anyone is at risk.

News 4 spoke with another Western New Yorker now living in Los Angeles who said people have been coming into the city in droves trying to escape the wildfire.

But as conditions start to improve, the National Weather Service ended its “red flag” fire warning.

Two members of our local chapter of the Red Cross have been deployed to California to support the wildfire relief efforts there.

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