California wildfires: 17 people dead, at least 150 reported missing
California's wine county has been engulfed by fast-spreading wildfires over the past couple of days. This has been termed one of the deadliest wildfires in the state's history. The fire caused massive destruction of property and police say at least 150 people are missing while the death toll has risen to 17. Here's more on what's happening on the ground.
California: Wild fires spreading fast through wine county
On October 10, at least 10 people were reported to be killed in multiple wildfires that were spreading through Northern California's wine county. The wildfire had ravaged at least 1500 properties, forcing mass evacuations to be carried out. Damage to critical infrastructure was also reported. The governor of California had declared a state of emergency as casualties continued to rise.
What do we know about California's 'worst-ever' wildfires?
The exact cause of the wildfires remains unknown. The fire started in Napa County and then spread to Sonoma County, before multiple fires started burning in the region. California fire chief Ken Pimlott notes that more than 17 fires have ravaged around 115,000 acres in the past 24 hours. Fast winds and dry weather reportedly enabled the fires to spread faster, hindering firefighting efforts.
Damage to life and property
The fires damaged over 2000 properties and have left at least 91,000 homes and businesses without electricity. At least four wineries in Napa suffered "total or very significant losses." Entire districts have been wiped out in Santa Rosa, a town situated to the north of San Francisco. Eleven people died in Sonoma County alone and over 155 people are not accounted for.
How have the authorities responded?
California Governor, Edmund G Brown Jr has declared a state of emergency in the wake of fast-spreading fires, which President Donald Trump has reportedly approved of. The governor has also mobilized the California National Guard to support relief efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) has sanctioned the California Fire Management Assistance Grants to help with efforts to control the fire.