California wildfires toll reaches 23

Adjust Comment Print

Before-and-after photos of the widespread destruction caused by the Northern California wildfires circulated on the internet Monday and Tuesday.

The sheriff's office in Sonoma County, where most of the deaths have occurred, said Wednesday night that the toll there has reached 13.

The other big fire, the Atlas Fire centered in Napa and Solano counties, did not grow much, according to Cal Fire; it remained at almost 43,000 acres and was 3 percent contained, up from zero the day before.

The massive complex of blazes has burned 265 square miles since breaking out nearly simultaneously on Sunday night.

Fire has consumed or significantly damaged at least five wineries in Napa Valley in a blow to an industry that pumps $58 billion annually into the state's economy, and destroyed at least 3,500 homes and other structures, according to CalFire. Missing person reports continue, Giordano said.

It started in Napa County near Calistoga, but is the fire that is responsible for raving the city of Santa Rosa, the county seat of Sonoma County. In Mendocino County, the Redwood Complex Fire was at 21,000 acres with no containment level.

In Santa Rosa, several fast-foot restaurants and convenience stores were reduced to burned out hulks, their drive-thru signs leading only to piles of ashes.

Officials say trucks are bringing fuel into inaccessible areas and helping fuel emergency vehicles directly from the trucks.

They said 8,000 firefighters and other personnel were battling the blazes and more resources were pouring in from Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon.

The 5,000-acre Nuns Fire in Glen Ellen was rapidly approaching the Oakmont retirement community south of Santa Rosa Tuesday afternoon. Appealing yesterday to President Donald Trump for federal aid, Governor Brown said the "devastation and disruption caused by these fires is extraordinary".

"We're on drawdown in the county", he said. "So, there will be the possibility of critical fire weather conditions".

"I don't know, man, the wrath of God is not very happy", Branch said.

In the hills above Santa Rosa, resident Peter Lang was forced to choose between saving his home or more than 1,000 animals that were trapped at his Safari West wildlife preserve, the Press Democrat newspaper reported.

Napa Valley College will also be closed through the end of the week and its gym remains open as a shelter for evacuees from the fires.

"We have had big fires in the past".

Bleary-eyed and clutching a styrofoam cup, Napa resident Justo Perez surveyed the contents of the vehicle his neighbor loaned him as he fled flames surrounding his home on Atlas Peak Road.

"This to me is like a nuclear bomb went off", Larson said near his home. "They are going through a lot", he added. Larson said he wished he had grabbed the gun as he left.