At least 17 people have died and 20,000 people have been evacuated due to a number of wildfires in California’s wine country in the United States since Monday, Reuters reported on Wednesday. While 1,15,000 acres of forest have burned so far, 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed.
Officials said there could be fresh new outbreaks of wildfire as weathermen have forecast dry and windy conditions on Wednesday evening and Thursday. “The potential for new fires that could grow exponentially as these fires did in such a short time period is there,” said said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff.
Cooler temperature, lower wind intensity and fog allowed firefighters to conduct rescue operations on Tuesday. Tolmachoff said that evacuation operations in Nevada and Yuba counties in western California were over on Tuesday, while those in Sonoma and Napa counties, where 50,000 acres of forest has burned, have been extended. Around 155 people are still missing in Sonoma.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties in the north, which make up some of the state’s main wine-manufacturing regions, as well as in Butte, Lake, Mendocino and Nevada. He extended the state of emergency to the Orange County in the south where another fire had erupted.