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Monday
Oct092017

Wildfires tear through California wine country; 10 dead, thousands evacuated

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- At least 10 people have died in raging wildfires across California.

Seventeen fires are burning across California, with flames fueled by strong winds. Nearly 90,000 acres are ablaze. The fires have destroyed at least 1,500 structures and forced the evacuation of 20,000 residents.

In Anaheim, hundreds of firefighters have mobilized to fight a blaze burning over an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 acres. Thousands of residents are impacted by the flames.

Ken Pimlott, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the fires started around 10 p.m. local time Sunday.

One person died in Mendocino County, while the second perished in Santa Rosa.

With the flames sweeping through entire communities, some area hospitals have been evacuated. Evacuations were also issued for surrounding counties that are under threat, according to the Napa Valley Sheriff's Office.

Pimlett said firefighters are concentrating on saving lives rather than battling the blazes.

The National Weather Service reported strong winds in the San Francisco Bay area, giving the inferno more life as it tears through businesses and homes.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the counties most at risk. The warning means conditions are critical.

Strong winds, relatively low humidity and warm temperatures can lead to extreme weather, according to the National Weather Service.

The Cal Fire service has confirmed that the Tubbs fire of Napa Valley has burned 20,000 acres of land in total, while the Nuns fire of Sonoma has destroyed 300 acres.

The Atlas fire, which is just south of Lake Berryessa in Napa Valley, has torched 5,000 acres since it started.

The cause of the fires is still under investigation.

Meteorologist Mike Nicco of KGO-TV in San Francisco has been tweeting updates on the fires.

Neighboring Marin County said on its official Twitter page that it's been overwhelmed with calls by residents.

There are churches and community centers open to those families that are seeking refuge from the fire.

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