No fire respite forecast for Calif.
3,500 homes and businesses have been lost amid ‘pure devastation’
The deadly wildfires raging through Northern California’s wine country are getting a destructive boost from high winds moving into the region, another blow to communities reeling from one of the most devastating fire events in U.S. history.
Thursday’s forecast isn’t expected to bring much relief. A “red flag” warning was issued because of the “very high fire danger,” the National Weather Service in Monterey, Calif., warned. High-elevation areas will see wind gusts in the 45- to 55-mph range, and valley areas should see gusts peaking at 20 to 30 mph, the weather service said.
“This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said. “It’s pure devastation, and it’s going to take a while to get out and comb through all this.”
At least 21 people have been killed. More than 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed across the wine country that has become a destination for visitors from around the globe.
Air rescue teams have plucked more than 50 people from roofs and mountaintops. Chris Childs of the California Highway Patrol said pets have been included in the rescues.
More than 250 square miles have burned since Sunday. More than 4,000 firefighters were battling the blazes.
Firefighter Paige Madrid sprays down an approaching fire near Kenwood, Calif., on Tuesday. Firefighters defend one home at a time, 2B.