Amid har­row­ing tales of es­cape, death toll climbs to 17 as North­ern Cal­i­for­nia fires con­tinue to rage

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source:­

The death toll from the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia fires con­tin­ued to rise Tues­day, reach­ing a con­firmed to­tal of 17 as mul­ti­ple fires scorched up­ward of 100,000 acres. Sonoma County alone has re­ceived about 200 re­ports of miss­ing peo­ple since Sun­day night, and sher­iff’s of­fi­cials have lo­cated 45 of those peo­ple, said county spokes­woman Mag­gie Flem­ing. The ma­jor­ity of the fa­tal­i­ties are from Sonoma County, where huge swaths of the city of Santa Rosa were lev­eled by the Tubbs fire. Eleven peo­ple have died in Sonoma County as of 7 p.m. Tues­day, of­fi­cials said. Two peo­ple have died in Napa County, three in Men­do­cino County and one in Yuba County, Cal Fire of­fi­cials said. As fire­fight­ers con­tin­ued to bat­tle one of the worst firestorms in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory, fed­eral of­fi­cials vowed to help. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence said in a visit to Cal­i­for­nia’s emer­gency man­age­ment head­quar­ters that Pres­i­dent Trump has ap­proved a “ma­jor dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion” for Cal­i­for­nia. When he spoke, 13 peo­ple had been con­firmed dead. “Let me first say our hearts and the hearts of ev­ery Amer­i­can go out to the fam­i­lies of the 13 who’ve lost their lives. It’s heart­break­ing to think that many of the fallen rep­re­sent our most vul­ner­a­ble; in some cases se­nior ci­ti­zens who sim­ply were not able to es­cape the flames that over­came their homes,” he said. “They are in our prayers.” As of 7 a.m. Tues­day, the two big­gest blazes — the Tubbs fire and the At­las Peak fire in Napa County — had burned 27,000 and 25,000 acres, re­spec­tively, said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Ber­lant. Both fires were un­con­tained, he said. Fire­fight­ers are hop­ing that winds will lessen enough Tues­day to al­low crews to get a han­dle on the fires. Some of the smaller fires had some con­tain­ment as of Mon­day night, he said: The 2,500-acre Sul­phur fire in Lake County was 10% con­tained, and the 2,000-acre 37 fire in Sonoma County was 15% con­tained. About 20,000 peo­ple evac­u­ated their homes Sun­day night and Mon­day, and there were ad­di­tional evac­u­a­tions in the Tubbs fire area and in Yuba County overnight, Ber­lant said. Red flag warn­ings in ef­fect through­out much of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia had ex­pired as of Tues­day morn­ing, Ber­lant said. Winds of up to 50 mph Sun­day night helped spread the flames. “Overnight, the wind that had fanned th­ese fires had re­ally de­creased, and that gave us an op­por­tu­nity to re­ally take a stand against th­ese fires,” Ber­lant said early Tues­day. “We are again to­day hop­ing to see very lit­tle wind com­pared to Sun­day.” But the cool and quiet of night did not stymie the progress of the At­las fire, which stretched across the hills east of Napa and sparked a chain of more fires to the west.

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