Posted by News Express | 11 October 2017 | 1,154 times
New evacuations were ordered Tuesday evening as more than a dozen wildfires raged across Northern California, with the largest ones killing at least 17 people as they scorched the state’s famous wine country.
The largest of the deadly fires were burning in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, with flames ripping through the lush, picturesque landscape.
Officials in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County called for the evacuations of five more areas Tuesday evening. Already, 20,000 people had been ordered to leave the area and other parts of Northern California.
It is too early to tell whether any of the wildfires were started by humans, said Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire. “All these fires are under investigation,” he told reporters, adding that his department was focusing on rescues and firefighting. But he said the chance the fires were caused by lightning was “fairly minimal.”
Here’s what we know so far, according to California authorities.
•At least 17 people have died since Sunday night, when most of the fires began. A total of 11 deaths were in Sonoma County, officials said.
•Two of those who died were in Napa County, county spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said. They were 100-year-old Charles Rippey and his wife, Sara, 98. They died when a fire engulfed their home near the Silverado Country Club north of Napa, Jourdan said.
•About 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed by the fires in Northern California, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday.
•More than 100 people were being treated at Napa- and Sonoma-area hospitals for fire-related injuries or health issues, including burns, smoke inhalation and shortness of breath.
•Wildfires were burning more than 115,000 acres in California as of Tuesday.
Before and after: Images of California devastation
•Most of the Northern California fires ignited Sunday night, driven by winds of more than 50 mph and dry conditions, Pimlott said Monday. The high winds led to “extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions,” according to Cal Fire.
•More than 180 people are missing, but authorities think communications issues are making it impossible for many of those people to check in with family.
•Credit (except headline): CNN.
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