Santa Rosa, Calif.

The Week (US) - - News 7 -

Deadly fires: Wild­fires whipped by 50 mph winds burned out of con­trol through­out North­ern California’s wine coun­try this week, killing at least 21 peo­ple, hos­pi­tal­iz­ing hun­dreds, and forc­ing more than 20,000 res­i­dents to flee their homes. More than 1,100 fire­fight­ers were bat­tling 17 sep­a­rate fires, which have scorched 170,000 acres across nine coun­ties, in­clud­ing Napa and Sonoma, and de­stroyed or dam­aged some 3,500 homes and busi­nesses. Res­i­dents say that walls of flames de­scended upon densely pop­u­lated neigh­bor­hoods so quickly that they were forced to flee even be­fore they re­ceived emer­gency alerts. “There was no no­tice, no warn­ing,” said Mau­reen Grin­nell, 77, who lived in the hills north of Napa with her 89-year-old hus­band. “I was watch­ing a movie...and I smelled smoke. By the time I started to back the car out of the garage, the house was al­ready on fire.” Au­thor­i­ties warned that the death toll was likely to rise, as more than 500 peo­ple re­mained un­ac­counted for.

A house in flames

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