Police say more than 150 people are missing after wildfires destroyed parts of northern California’s wine region.
The wildfires broke out on Sunday and quickly spread, destroying thousands of buildings in the area. Authorities have confirmed that 17 people have lost their lives, with more than half of the deaths reported in Sonoma County.
The wildfires have left total destruction in some parts of northern California. The wildfires have reportedly burned more than 122,000 acres. Napa, Mendocino and Sonoma were the counties with the largest fires.
In Sonoma, police say 155 people are still unaccounted for. They believe that could be because of the quick evacuations in the area. Some of the people have been found safe but authorities are still on the search.
Some residents have returned home but have found that the fire has left nothing. One resident told KPIX news that they could hear and feel the heat coming and that there was no time to save anything. The wildfires are said to be the 12th most destructive in the state.
Emergency teams were able to control most of the wildfires when the wind stopped. The fires have sent out smoke as far as San Francisco, which is 100 miles away. California Governor Jerry Brown declared state of emergency in seven counties.
A trailer park and a Hilton hotel were among the many structures destroyed by the fires in Santa Rosa. Pictures of the aftermath show the area completely destroyed, with burned vehicles and some trees as the only things remaining of what was once home to hundreds of people.
California fire chief Ken Pimlott spoke to the BBC yesterday and said that the fires had burned about 115,000 acres in just one day. Reports now say 120,000 acres have been burned. He mentioned that authorities were now in the search for those unaccounted for but that they fear the death toll could rise. Emergency teams are also treating more than 100 people at hospitals for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Recent reports say there are now more than 90,000 homes and businesses without electricity. More than 20,000 people have been evacuated and hundreds have been reported missing. According to CNN, more than 240 people were reported missing in Sonoma County. Authorities have confirmed that 57 of the people reported missing have been found safe.