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Death Toll Climbs to 23 as Winds Fan California Wildfires

12 October 2017

"I want to say a few words to the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of bad tragedy and need". "That's the way it is with a warming climate". "This is one of the biggest, most serious, and it's not over", said California Gov.

Shifting his focus to the loss of life, Brown added, "That can't be recovered".

Flames have raced across the wine-growing region and the scenic coastal area of Mendocino farther north, leveling whole neighborhoods and leaving only brick chimneys and charred appliances to mark where homes once stood. As of October 11, there is no rain in the forecast for the next week and humidity levels are low. "This is just pure devastation".

Authorities do not know the exact cause of these fires, which began Sunday.

It's unclear what caused fires to form suddenly around the same time in one night, blazing through California's wine country while many residents were caught unaware as they headed to bed.

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin of the California National Guard says 242 soldiers and airmen are assisting in responding to the fires in the two counties. At least nine of the deaths have been attributed to that fire.

Above is CHP footage and below is Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter footage of the intense Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa in the early morning hours of Monday, as seen from above. "So they all grew into major fires very quickly", Pimlott said. Pimlott said pilots couldn't see what was beyond their windows, much less what was on the ground.

PG&E has shut off gas service for roughly 40,000 customers in the Santa Rosa, Yountville, Napa and Kenwood areas as a safety precaution since fire can damage gas pipes and meters.

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The conditions are not expected to get better for firefighters as forecasters from the National Weather Service are predicting a spike in winds blowing from the northeast for the North Bay, though gusts won't be almost as strong as those that fanned several fast-moving and devastating fires Sunday night into Monday morning.

But one official after another spoke of the long road ahead in nearly apocalyptic terms.

Dozens of names are on a dry erase board at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, which the Red Cross had turned into an evacuation centre with dormitories, cold showers and three meals a day.

At least 13 of the deaths have occurred in Sonoma County, officials say. "And I'm talking 25 feet in front of my eyes", Rietman told The Inertia". As is often typical for significant press briefings, a person standing to the right of the podium translated the officials' words into American Sign Language. That allowed Facebook user Alicia Hommel, whose profile identifies her as a resident mentor at the Indiana School for the Deaf, to summarize the interpreter's signs into written posts on the comment thread.

"We can only get so many places and we have only so many people to work on so many things", he said. "You can't make this stuff up".

Speaking to NPR's David Greene, Cox said, "Late season fires are always hard, because you're contending with very dry fuel moistures".

But Gordon O'Brien, a fire captain from the city of Alameda, about 70 miles away, said that when a fire is coming fast, there is little humans can do except to save their own lives. It was a friend telling me my parents have been evacuated and are now safe.

Death Toll Climbs to 23 as Winds Fan California Wildfires