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23 dead, hundreds missing as California wildfires spread

Time:2017-10-12 18:37wine - Red wine life health Click:

Napa wine country Couple Fires Rippey

Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 8:34 PM

Wildfire flames grew higher, hotter and spread farther in California wine country on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people and laying waste to thousands of homes and businesses.

Hundreds of people remained unaccounted for amid the chaos sparked by evacuation orders and a multitude of fires burning across the region.

Officials, offering a glimmer of hope for those desperately searching for friends and family, said they believe many of those reported missing will be found alive because chaotic evacuations and poor communications over the past few days have stymied search efforts.


California wildfires continue to grow and spread in wine country taking at least 23 lives. (Marcus Yam/TNS)

“We get calls and people searching for lost folks and they’re not lost, they’re just staying with somebody and we don’t know where it is,” said Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht.

More than 100 missing, death toll rises as Calif. wildfires rage

Shelters and evacuation centers are set up across the area.

An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, Calif.

An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said he also expects the death toll to climb.

“The devastation is enormous,” he said. “We can’t even get into most areas.”

A bubbling underground river of wine flows away from a burned Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017.
Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSONJOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Raging wildfires tear through Northern California

As of Wednesday, 22 separate wildfires were burning in Northern California, up from 17 the day before.

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The blazes, scorching the earth for more than three days, have destroyed an estimated 3,500 homes and businesses, making them the third deadliest and most destructive blazes in state history.


The sun rises through a cloud of smoke after a wildfire swept through the area in Sonoma County. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./AP)

“We have had big fires in the past. This is one of the biggest, most serious, and it’s not over,” said California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Officials said at least 8,000 firefighters and other personnel are battling the inferno, and resources are still pouring in from Oregon, Nevada, Washington and Arizona.

But the fast-moving fires have decimated whole neighborhoods, leaving nothing but the charred remains of houses and brick chimneys standing among soot-covered lots.

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“These fires are literally just burning faster than firefighters can run in some situations,” Emergency Operations Director Mark Ghilarducci said.

With News Wire Services.

Tags:   california   wildfires  
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