California: Deadly Wildfires sweep through wine country

Raging wildfires in California’s wine country have claimed at least 10 lives and destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending an estimated 20,000 people on a flight to safety.

The fires broke out nearly simultaneously and then exploded overnight, sending residents fleeing as embers rained down and flames raged around them. Two hospitals in Santa Rosa, the largest city in the region with 175,000 people, were forced to evacuate patients.

Many of the fires spread suddenly overnight, whipped by strong winds.

The governor of California has declared an emergency.

Further injuries have been reported and some people are said to be missing.

A spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric said 114,000 customers were without power.

Hundreds of homes in the Fountain Grove area were leveled by flames so hot they melted the glass off of cars and turned aluminum wheels into liquid. One neighborhood of older homes was scorched, leaving only brick chimneys and downed power lines.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Yuba counties. Authorities imposed a sunset-to-sunrise curfew in Santa Rosa, saying they were on the lookout for looters.


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