Firefighters on Wednesday night struggled to stop the spread of wildfire in California’s wine country which has now killed at least 23 people, Reuters reported. Over 20,000 people have fled their homes and moved to evacuation centres across the region, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Hundreds of residents are still believed to be missing.
Nearly 5,000 residents in the Napa Valley community left their homes on Wednesday as they feared fresh fires would break out. Wildfires have damaged or demolished at least 13 Napa Valley wineries.
A number of wildfires have charred nearly 170,000 acres of land, and destroyed around 3,500 buildings since Sunday. “We’re still not out of the woods. It’s a very serious situation,” Heather Williams, a spokesperson for Cal Fire, told The Guardian.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday had 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 Orange County in the south where another fire had erupted.