Wine Country Wildfires Spared Little In Their Paths

Massive wildfires ripped through Napa and Sonoma counties early Monday destroying hundreds of homes and businesses on Monday

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Authorities said Tuesday that at least 15 people have died in the fires, and more 200 missing-person reports were filed in Sonoma County alone, though 45 have been found. At least 3,500 homes, wineries, camps, high schools, resorts and other iconic structures have been destroyed.

Wednesday morning, ABC7 reported that seven Santa Rosa firefighters lost their homes in the wildfires.

One mixed team, led by a County Fire battalion chief and a strike team trainee, is made up of an engine from County Fire, two from Santa Barbara city, one from Carpinteria/Summerland and one from Montecito.

October has generally been the most destructive time of year for California wildfires, but it is unusual to have so many fires take off at the same time.

As a result, a fire weather watch, which is only slightly less severe than a red flag warning, may need to be issued for portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, NWS forecasters said. "Hopefully, the answer is yes".

"We are now assessing damage as first responders grant permission for our crews to safely access areas".

Speaking to NPR's David Greene, Cox said, "Late season fires are always hard, because you're contending with very dry fuel moistures".

"It's like driving through a war zone", J.J. Murphy, 22, one of thousands of evacuees, said of the area around his home in the Sonoma Valley community of Glen Ellen.

Pimlott gave a county-by-county breakdown of the grim toll: 13 dead in Sonoma, six in Mendocino, and two each in Napa and Yuba.

The McClellan Reload Base, an airstrip that is used to support aerial firefighting efforts, "pumped over 266,000 gallons of fire retardant Monday".

The Trump administration has also approved a federal disaster declaration for California in response to wildfires. "And we will be there for you in this time of awful tragedy and need".

The city of Santa Rosa and its 175,000 residents felt much of the damage, with strip malls, business parks, hotels and subdivisions swallowed up by the fire.

The three largest fires started between 9 and 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire, ripping into neighborhoods when many residents had started to go to bed.

The 8,000-plus Cal Fire crews have been working nonstop since the blazes first broke out Sunday night and are committed to the "constant battle", he said.

"It's not going to be anywhere what we saw", said Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the weather service. "So, there will be the possibility of critical fire weather conditions".

"These embers can twist and turn and wind up in other areas that might not be in the direction of the winds", Garcia said. He also said deputies have stopped escorting people into evacuation areas to retrieve medications.

"I don't know, man, the wrath of God is not very happy", Branch said.

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