The death toll from the Northern California wildfires that have already killed 10 people is expected to rise as the blazes continues ripping through wine country, officials said.
More than 100 people have been reported missing in Sonoma County, where at least seven people were killed because of the fires.
They began Sunday night, leading to 15 fires across eight counties, which Gov. Jerry Brown has declared in a state of emergency.
While conditions reportedly eased by Tuesday morning, the damage was severe in Sonoma and Napa counties.
At least 1,500 buildings — including at least two vineyards — were destroyed because of the fires, officials said.
About 94,000 Pacific Gas and Electric’s customers remained without power early Tuesday, NBC News reported. Those were mostly in Sonoma and the North Bay area.
Californians are concerned strong winds could carry the devastation even further.
The fires grew Sunday night and caused massive devastation.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Already it ripped through Santa Rosa, a city in Sonoma County of about 174,000.
Jeff Okrepki said his home of the last five years was reduced to rubble.
“All that good stuff, I’m never going to see it again,” he told The Associated Press.
About half the classrooms, the library and offices for a Santa Rosa high school were also damaged by the fire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Further north, the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country was decimated by the raging fires, according to reports.
Kim Hoe, a 33-year-old tourist visiting from Malaysia, said he was told to leave the 250-room hotel at 1 a.m. local time.
The fires ripped through a trailer park near Santa Rosa.
(Paul Kitagaki Jr./AP)
“We just had to run and run,” Hoe said. “It was full of smoke. We could barely breathe.”
CalFire Deputy Chief Scott McLean, speaking to NBC News’ “Today” on Tuesday, said it’s still unclear what sparked the fires.
The investigation is “a very meticulous process,” he said. “It does take time.”
Another fire near Anaheim also sparked concern in the south as it spread to 10 miles, destroying 24 structures.
About 5,000 homes were evacuated in Orange County because of the blaze, smoke clouds from which could be seen from Disneyland.With News Wire Services