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California wildfires kill at least 15, more than 200 reported missing in wine country

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journalist
Publish Time 2017-10-11 07:46:00

At least 15 people are dead and more than 200 have been reported missing as explosive, wind-whipped wildfires rage through Northern California's famed wine country, forcing fire crews to race to get the massive blazes under control. 

Sonoma County spokeswoman Maggie Flemings said Tuesday afternoon about 200 missing-person reports have been lodged as family members and friends scramble to locate loved ones while wildfires ravage the region. 

Flemings said it's possible that most of those reported missing are safe but can't be reached because of the widespread loss of cellphone service and other communications. Officials are advising people with access to the internet to declare themselves safe on social media or contact the Red Cross.

Cal Fire officials said Tuesday morning 17 wildfires in nine counties have already burned more than 115,000 acres in the past 12 hours, and winds gusting in excess of 50 miles per hour have caused "extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions."

Fire officials told Fox News there is zero percent containment on all fires. Some of the largest of the blazes burning were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott said Tusday that 2,000 homes and businesses, in addition to other structures, have been destroyed. At least 4,000 personnel are helping to fight the wildfires.



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