11 dead, thousands homeless as wildfires torch California wine country

Fast-moving wildfires ravage Northern California's wine country

Fast-moving wildfires ravage Northern California's wine country

Some of the worst of the wildfires have struck in the heart of wine country: At least three separate fires in Napa and Sonoma counties were burning across more than 50,000 acres as of Monday afternoon, leaving behind charred homes, vineyards and winery buildings. About 73,000 acres are ablaze across Northern California, said Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott, and "most of these fires have limited or no containment".

Sonoma County said its hotline had received about 100 missing-person reports, though they expect some are duplicates. Homes and businesses of residents not associated with the industry have seen extensive damage.

"In less than 24 hours, more than 18 fires began burning in at least seven counties and have collectively burned more than 80,000 acres", Brown wrote in a statement.

Much of the damage was in Santa Rosa, a city home to 175,000 people. The blazes have forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate and destroyed 1,500 structures, including mobile home parks, houses and wineries.

Sonoma is the northwesternmost county in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area region.

In Southern California, most evacuation orders have been lifted as firefighters successfully battle a wildfire that destroyed 14 buildings, a lot of them homes.

An emergency proclamation had been issued earlier for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Not since the Valley Fire of 2015 - which ranks fourth among the most destructive fires in CA history in terms of property damage (2,000 structures), and which is certain to be outpaced by this group of fires - has California witnessed so many people displaced at once by a wildfire, as our fire season tends to focus on wildland areas that are harder to defend when fires break out. They quickly spread across some 29,542 hectares, fire officials said, and sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 96km away.

The fire, which started Monday morning, has covered parts of Orange County with a cloud of smoke.

"We got our grapes in last week but others still have grapes hanging", he said. They recalled all the possessions they had left behind and were lost.

Residents who gathered at emergency shelters and grocery stores on Monday said they were shocked by the speed and ferocity of the flames. Hundreds of homes of all sizes were leveled by flames so hot they melted the glass off of cars and turned aluminum wheels into liquid.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and five other counties. Crying, Lien Mai, a Coffey Park resident whose home was destroyed, told the New York Times.

Fires from ruptured gas lines dotted the landscape Santa Rosa as fire trucks raced to battle the blaze.

"It's going to be a waiting game to see, when it's all said and done, what the impact is, but we're not just talking about the vines".

"We are with you", he said.

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