California ‘horror’ fires kill at least 40, deadliest in state history

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The 38 confirmed fatalities, including 20 in Sonoma County, already make it the deadliest fire event in California history. Some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes

Fast-moving fires spread by shifting winds forced thousands more Californians to evacuate their homes on Saturday as the death toll from the deadliest blaze recorded in the state’s history rose to at least 38, with hundreds of people still missing.

About 10,000 firefighters supported by air tankers and helicopters overhead were battling 16 major wildfires, some encompassing several smaller merged blazes, in areas north of San Francisco that have consumed nearly 214,000 acres (86,000 hectares) over seven days, or roughly 334 square miles (865 sq km) – an area larger than New York City.

The fires have damaged or destroyed about 5,700 structures, reducing homes and businesses to ash. The fires’ death toll surpassed the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.

“It’s an unwieldy beast right now,” fire information officer Dennis Rein said at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, the main staging area for the so-called Nuns Fire in Sonoma County, a world-renowned wine-producing region.

 

 

Source:  News agencies