Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires kill at least 31 peo­ple

Gulf News - - AMERICAS -

Fire­fight­ers faced an­other round of dry, windy con­di­tions yes­ter­day as they bat­tled wild­fires that have killed at least 31 peo­ple in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and left hun­dreds miss­ing in the heart of wine coun­try.

The most lethal wild­fire event in Cal­i­for­nia’s his­tory has killed peo­ple while they asleep in their beds and prompted au­thor­i­ties to evac­u­ate thou­sands of res­i­dents, warn­ing any­one de­cid­ing to wait it out: “You are on your own.” The toll from the more than 20 fires rag­ing across eight coun­ties could climb, with more than 400 peo­ple in Sonoma County alone still listed as miss­ing.

Strong winds

Winds of up to 100km/h and hu­mid­ity of just 10 per cent were ex­pected to cre­ate “crit­i­cal fire weather con­di­tions” and “con­trib­ute to ex­treme fire be­hav­iour” yes­ter­day af­ter­noon and into to­day, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said.

A force of 8,000 fire­fight­ers is work­ing to re­in­force and ex­tend buf­fer lines across the re­gion where the flames have scorched more than 190,000 acres (77,000 hectares), an area nearly the size of New York City.

With 3,500 homes and busi­nesses in­cin­er­ated, the so-called North Bay fires have re­duced whole neigh­bour­hoods in the city of Santa Rosa to smoul­der­ing ru­ins dot­ted with charred trees and burnt-out cars.

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