Sunday 22 October 2017

California wildfire death toll rises to 17

A home burns in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif. More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds been burning though California wine country. The flames have destroyed at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sent thousands of people fleeing. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A home burns in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif. More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds been burning though California wine country. The flames have destroyed at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sent thousands of people fleeing. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
FILE PHOTO: Smoke from various wildfires are seen in Sonoma Valley along Highway 12 during the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
Vines are seen at a vineyard during the Nuns Fire in Kenwood, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
This aerial image shows buildings that were destroyed by a wildfire that moved through the area in Santa Rosa, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Newly homeless residents of California wine country took stock of their shattered lives Tuesday, a day after deadly wildfires destroyed homes and businesses. (Nick Giblin/DroneBase via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The death toll from wildfires raging in California has grown to 17.

The blazes have also left at least 180 people injured and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses.

This aerial image shows buildings that were destroyed by a wildfire that moved through the area in Santa Rosa, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Newly homeless residents of California wine country took stock of their shattered lives Tuesday, a day after deadly wildfires destroyed homes and businesses. (Nick Giblin/DroneBase via AP)
This aerial image shows buildings that were destroyed by a wildfire that moved through the area in Santa Rosa, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Newly homeless residents of California wine country took stock of their shattered lives Tuesday, a day after deadly wildfires destroyed homes and businesses. (Nick Giblin/DroneBase via AP)

Described as a "terrible tragedy" by Donald Trump, the President said the US federal government will "stand with the people of California".

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties and requested a presidential major disaster declaration to help battle at least 18 blazes burning throughout the state.

A series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday night are among the deadliest in the state's history.

Some of the largest of 14 blazes burning over a 200-mile region were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. They sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles away.

FILE PHOTO: Smoke from various wildfires are seen in Sonoma Valley along Highway 12 during the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Smoke from various wildfires are seen in Sonoma Valley along Highway 12 during the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

Sonoma County said it has received more than 100 missing-person reports as family and friends scramble to locate loved ones.

The county Sheriff's Office announced two additional deaths there late on Tuesday. That brings the county's total to 11. The other six are spread among Napa, Yuba and Mendocino counties.

Vines are seen at a vineyard during the Nuns Fire in Kenwood, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Vines are seen at a vineyard during the Nuns Fire in Kenwood, California, U.S., October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Hospitals say they have treated at least 185 people injured by wildfires that have rampaged through parts of northern California since Sunday night.

Most of the injured were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's emergency room, which treated about 100 people since the wildfires began.

The hospital said most had respiratory-related issues, including difficulty breathing, asthma and throat irritation, and 14 patients were treated for burns.

Three of the burn victims remain in the Intensive Care Unit.

Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa treated about 50 patients, mostly for minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

Petaluma Valley Hospital treated about 35 patients from wildfires, most of whom have been released.

Meanwhile a key Napa County vintner said at least five wineries in his trade group were destroyed or seriously damaged in a region synonymous with excellent food and wine.

The Napa Valley Vintners association earlier Tuesday had put the number at four.

But board chairman Michael Honig said the latest count was five. He said damage was to facilities, and the group does not know about vineyards.

Mr Honig said the next few days might not be the best time to sample wines, but he wants people to visit in a week or two. He is convinced the Napa brand will survive.

In Southern California, most evacuation orders have been lifted as firefighters successfully battle a wildfire that destroyed 14 buildings, most of them homes.

Thousands of people in Tustin, Orange and Anaheim were allowed to begin returning home Tuesday evening, a day after the blaze erupted in northern Orange County.

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