Thou­sands flee as wild­fires rav­age North­ern Cal­i­for­nia; 11 killed

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

At least 11 peo­ple were killed and more than 100 were in­jured as mas­sive wild­fires swept through parts of Cal­i­for­nia, de­stroy­ing 1,500 res­i­dences and build­ings, au­thor­i­ties said.

Fire­fight­ers were bat­tling 17 fires across mul­ti­ple coun­ties around the state as of late on Mon­day night, au­thor­i­ties said. In­ten­si­fied by strong winds, the fires charred about 90,000 acres of land, de­stroyed at least 1,500 build­ings and forced nearly 20,000 res­i­dents to evac­u­ate.

St. Joseph Health said about 170 pa­tients have been treated, many for burns and smoke in­hala­tion, at three of its hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing two in Sonoma County, where at least seven peo­ple died of fire-re­lated in­juries. The Sonoma County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties could in­crease. Au­thor­i­ties have re­ceived more than 100 phone calls to report on peo­ple who were pur­port­edly miss­ing, ac­cord­ing to one Sonoma County of­fi­cial.

Sonoma County Sgt. Spencer Crum told ABC News Chief An­chor George Stephanopou­los to­day on “GMA” the county has asked ev­ery­one to “help us out” in the bat­tle against the blaze.

The shift­ing gusts that had been dog­ging fire­fight­ers have re­ceded, he added.

“The night be­fore this we had 60 mph winds which is the rea­son why you have such dev­as­ta­tion here,” Crum said.

Crum con­firmed that the alert sys­tem put in place gave res­i­dents am­ple time to evac­u­ate and likely pre­vented cer­tain deaths.

“We have a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice where we can alert our res­i­dents and we did that right away, try­ing to no­tify ev­ery­body where the fire was, where it was go­ing and how fast it was go­ing and I think it saved a lot of lives,” said Crum.

Of­fi­cials with the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol de­scribed one of the dead as an el­derly woman who was blind and hard of hear­ing, ac­cord­ing to ABC’s San Fran­cisco sta­tion KGO. The woman was found dead in the drive­way of her home in Santa Rosa, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials, who sus­pected that she may have been try­ing to es­cape the flames when she died.

De­tails on the other vic­tims have not been re­leased yet.

Two of the largest fires, dubbed the Tubbs and At­las Fires by au­thor­i­ties, burned a com­bined 52,000 acres of land in Sonoma and Napa coun­ties.

In Ana­heim, 1,000 fire­fight­ers were mo­bi­lized to fight a blaze that burned an es­ti­mated 6,000 acres and de­stroyed at least 24 homes and busi­nesses. At least 3,000 res­i­dents were evac­u­ated in and around Ana­heim and more than 5,000 struc­tures were threat­ened by the flames.

Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Jerry Brown has de­clared a state of emer­gency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba coun­ties.

With the flames sweep­ing through en­tire com­mu­ni­ties, some area hos­pi­tals have been evac­u­ated. Evac­u­a­tions were also is­sued for sur­round­ing coun­ties that are un­der threat, ac­cord­ing to the Napa Val­ley Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Many res­i­dents have been warned not to re­turn to their homes un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.