California Wildfires Blamed For 17 Deaths; High Winds Forecast

California California fire California wildfire wildfires Jerry Brown Napa Sonoma Mendocino County

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant says fire activity increased significantly overnight, destroying more buildings and leading to new mandatory evacuations in several areas.

The 5,000-acre Nuns fire burning in Annadel State Park is "rapidly approaching Oakmont", the alert said. Conditions eased somewhat Tuesday - but the National Weather Service says high winds could return to the area beginning late Wednesday night, with gusts over 50 miles per hour.

At least two of the fires have each burned more than 25,000 acres, propelled by strong winds Sunday night. In fact, the fires that have burned since Sunday in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino and Yuba counties are now threatening the towns of Sonoma, Napa, Calistoga and Fairfield.

Though the National Weather Service said there are a few small fires burning in Idaho, none of them are big enough to cause this much haze.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately agreed to the state's request for federal funds to help fight numerous fires.

The latest round of evacuations comes after 20,000 people were ordered to leave when the fires broke out earlier this week.

Of the 23 people victims, 13 were killed in the Tubbs wildfire in Sonoma, officials said. "Here we have interpretation of official comments provided by a woman who can read sign language for the deaf relayed to people whose hearing is okay", Howard wrote.

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.

Most of the major fires were at minimal containment of 3 percent or less, Pimlott said.

In the town of Napa on the first night of a blaze dubbed the Atlas fire, almost 50 people who were in danger of being overrun by flames were rescued by the crews of two California Highway Patrol helicopters. Some 4,000 people are battling the fires, including crews from Nevada and the U.S. Forest Service.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in eight counties - including the wine-producing regions of Napa and Sonoma - and said thousands of firefighters had been deployed to fight the blazes.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company told NBC News that 94,000 customers were without power on Tuesday morning, and 30,000 customers have had their gas shut off.

The Trump administration has also approved a federal disaster declaration for California in response to wildfires. "They're not telling us, your street from here to here is gone", she said.

Another Atlas Peak Road resident, Richard Clark, said Tuesday he still hadn't seen the fire's destruction and has no idea what will be left of his home.

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