Winds whip new terror into deadly California wildfires
Fueled by the return of strong winds, the wildfires tearing through California wine country exploded in size and number Wednesday as authorities ordered new evacuations and the death toll climbed to 21 — a figure expected to rise higher still.
Three days after the fires began, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes that had turned entire Northern California neighborhoods to ash and destroyed at least 3,500 homes and businesses.
“We are literally looking at explosive vegetation,” said Ken Pimlott, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “It is very dynamic. These fires are changing by the minute in many areas.”
The entire historic town of Calistoga, population 5,000, was evacuated. In neighboring