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10 Oct 2017

California: Wild fires spreading fast through wine county

At least 10 people have been killed in wildfires that are reportedly spreading fast through California's wine country.

According to reports, these are some of the state's worst-ever wildfires and have ravaged at least 1500 properties, forcing mass evacuations to be carried out.

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency as casualties continue to rise.

Let's see what's happening.

In context

Multiple wildfires engulf California's wine country

How did it start?

The exact cause of the wildfires remains unknown. According to a declaration issued by the governor's office, the fire started in Napa County and then quickly spread to the Sonoma County. Multiple fires then started burning across Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Scale of destruction: What we know so far?


Scale of destruction: What we know so far?

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates that multiple fires have ravaged tens of thousands of acres.

At least 1500 buildings have already been destroyed, with more damage predicted.

Multiple fires also damaged "critical infrastructure" and "have forced the closure of major highways and local roads."

A total of 10 deaths were reported from Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

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How have the authorities responded?

California Governor, Edmund G Brown Jr has declared a state of emergency in the wake of fast-spreading fires.

He has also mobilized the California National Guard to support relief efforts.

Reportedly, dozens of vineyard workers were airlifted to safety overnight.

The Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) has allowed the California Fire Management Assistance Grants to help with efforts to controlling the fire.

Weather conditions hindering firefighting efforts

The fires have been spreading at a rapid rate due to weather conditions, including fast winds and hot, dry weather. Napa county's fire chief stated that these conditions were obstructing firefighting efforts as resources are being brought in from across the state.

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