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Northern California firestorm ‘literally exploded,’ killing 21 and destroying hundreds of homes

Northern California firestorm ‘literally exploded,’ killing 21 and destroying hundreds of homes

More than 650 have been reported missing after fast-moving fires devastate communities north of San Francisco.

Flames from a massive wildfire burn in Napa, CA. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
FLAMES FROM A MASSIVE WILDFIRE BURN IN NAPA, CA. (CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICH PEDRONCELLI)

High temperatures and fast winds are fueling more than a dozen wildfires across California, forcing more than 20,000 northern California residents to evacuate their homes and communities. At least 21 people have died, and 670 have been reported missing, after several fires spread rapidly throughout Monday.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at California’s emergency management headquarters on Tuesday and said that President Trump had approved a “major disaster declaration” for the entire state.

The fires ignited late Sunday night and into Monday morning and have since spread over 50,000 acres across Napa and Sonoma counties, destroying at least 3,500 structures and sending at least 100 to the hospital with injuries ranging from burns to smoke inhalation. The Tubbs Fire — which is currently burning at 33,000 acres — has prompted the evacuation of at least 10 neighborhoods in the city of Santa Rosa, which has a population of 125,000. Two hospitals have also been evacuated after the fire jumped across Highway 101 between Sunday night and Monday morning.

Aerial photographs show entire neighborhoods of the city completely destroyed by the fire, which as of Tuesday morning was zero percent contained. Smoke from the wildfires caused the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue an air quality warning for the region on Monday; as of Tuesday, much of the area north of San Francisco was still experiencing unhealthy air quality. Fire officials said it could be days, or even weeks, before many of the fires are contained.

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