Wildfires kill at least 10 in California
SANTA ROSA, California Wildfires fanned by strong winds swept through northern California’s wine country on Monday, killing at least 10 people, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and forcing some 20,000 people to flee.
The deaths brought the official wildfire-related toll in California this year to 13, the greatest loss of civilian life from a single cluster of blazes in the state in a decade, state fire officials said.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, encompassing some of the state’s prime wine-making areas, as the blazes raged unchecked and engulfed the region in thick, billowing smoke that drifted south into the San Francisco Bay area.
He later extended the declaration to include four more northern California counties and Orange County in Southern California, and requested a U.S. presidential disaster declaration to support state and local firefighting resources. Sonoma County bore the brunt of the fatalities, with seven fire-related deaths confirmed there, according to the sheriff’s department. Two died in Napa County and one in Mendocino County, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).
The death toll could climb higher, said Brad Alexander, a spokesman for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services. More than 100 people were treated for fire-related injuries such as burns and smoke inhalation, CNN reported.