At least 17 people have died from the extreme fires storming Northern California, and more than 180 are still missing. The California Fire Service have been battling the blazes since Sunday, when they were sparked by wind gusts of 80-90km/h.
“Wind-driven fires are a normal occurrence,” California Fire spokeswoman Heather Williams told The Guardian. She added that these are “definitely out of the norm.” The fires are now one of the deadliest in California history.
Evacuations have reached 20,000 and the fire has now been labelled a major disaster declaration, per an announcement from Vice President Mike Pence. Efforts to find missing people have been hindered by a lack of internet and phone networks caused by the fires.
Currently, the most significant fire is about 80km from San Francisco, in California’s popular wine country.