Northern California Wine Country Fires: 23 Dead, 600+ Missing, 3,500 Structures Burned

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Wildfires tearing through Northern California’s wine country flared up again Wednesday, destroying hundreds more structures and leading to new evacuation orders as authorities raised the death toll to 23.
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Officials confirmed the death toll Monday night, and crews are working to find at least 285 people who have been reported missing in Sonoma County.
There were originally 600 reports of missing people, but officials said that 315 were located safely. The numbers had been inconsistent as authorities tried to get confirmation.Approximately 3,000 structures have been destroyed statewide, including homes and businesses and several wineries.

Nearly three days after the flames ignited in Northern California, firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes, which were growing in number. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said 22 wildfires were burning, up from 17 on Tuesday.A wind advisory has been issued with gusts of more than 50 mph expected later Wednesday in the North Bay. The winds could down trees, trigger more power outages and pick up embers.

Evacuations have expanded for the wildfires for parts of Sonoma Valley after a blaze grew to 44 square miles. New evacuation orders were also in place for Green Valley in Solano County.

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“The devastation is enormous,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano. “We can’t even get into most areas.”
More than 240 members of the California National Guard helped ferry fuel to first responders because so many gas stations were without power. Guard members were also helping with medical evacuations and security at evacuation centers, said Maj. Gen. David Baldwin.
IMPORTANT: If you know someone who was missing but no longer is please call the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center at 707-565-3856
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP