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California Fires Take 17 Lives, More Than 2,000 Buildings

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Rudy Habibe, from Puerto Rico, stands by the burning Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel, where he was a guest, in Santa Rosa, Calif., Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

UPDATE 8:55 p.m.: (AP) - The death toll from wildfires raging in Northern California has now grown to 17.

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

The Sheriff's Office released only the names of the streets where the deceased were discovered, and no information on the identities or circumstances of the deaths.

The series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday night are among the deadliest in California history.

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

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 ICU.

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.

 


UPDATE 6:03 p.m.: California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Solano county due to effects of the Atlas wildfire. 

The designation brings the total number of counties under emergency orders to nine. Monday Brown declared emergencies in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

 


UPDATE 3:19 p.m.: (AP) - Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano says his office is starting to organize search teams. But they have yet to inspect the affected areas because there are still hotspots.

At least nine people have been killed by the raging wildfires in the county.

Giordano says the massive blaze is still very active in the Sonoma Valley and in the southern part of the county.

Santa Rosa Police said Tuesday afternoon that a new blaze that started Monday night is quickly approaching Oakmont, a Santa Rosa neighborhood.

California's two senators are calling on the White House to speed up the availability of federal aid to California counties affected by wildfires that led to the deaths of at least 15 people.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein said they support California Gov. Jerry Brown's request for a major disaster declaration and asked President Donald Trump to "expedite the damage assessment reviews necessary to make federal assistance available ... as soon as possible."

The senators said damage is especially bad in the counties of Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Mendocino, Sonoma and Yuba.

Trump approved the request. He said he spoke with Brown on Monday night to "let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need."

 


UPDATE 12:22 p.m.: (AP) - A fire official says two more people have died in Sonoma County, raising the total number of people killed in wildfires in Northern California to 15. The fires also destroyed 2,000 homes and businesses and other structures.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott says there are 16 fires burning throughout the region with another blaze in Orange County.

At least 4,000 personnel are helping fight the blazes.

Sonoma County says about 200 missing-person reports have been lodged as family members and friends scramble to locate loved ones while wildfires ravage the region.

Sonoma County spokeswoman Maggie Fleming said Tuesday the reports have come via calls to a hotline.

She says 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.

Fleming says officials are advising people with access to the internet to declare themselves safe on social media or contact the Red Cross.

Fires have killed at least 13 people, seven in Sonoma County.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: California OES is giving a live update at 11:30 a.m. Watch below:


UPDATE 7:55 A.M.: A Northern California official has confirmed that a person died trying to flee a blaze in Yuba County, bringing the total number of fatalities to 13.

Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown said Tuesday that the unidentified person was in a vehicle fleeing from the town of Loma Rica, ran off a back road and became trapped in the blaze.

Brown tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the person died early Monday.

Authorities on Monday confirmed seven fire-related deaths in Sonoma County, two in Napa County and one in Mendocino County.

Authorities also say a new blaze is threatening homes near Santa Rosa already battling unforgiving wildfires.

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Summer Black says flames began coming over a ridge shortly after 11 p.m. Monday in an area bordering Santa Rosa's Oakmont neighborhood and Trione-Annadel State Park.

Officials are asking anyone remaining to leave the area.

The city of Santa Rosa and its 175,000 residents felt much of the damage, with strip malls, business parks, hotels and subdivisions swallowed up by the fire.

Sonoma County says it has received more than 100 missing-person reports as family and friends scramble to locate loved ones while wildfires ravage the state.

Scott Alonso, communications director for Sonoma County, says the reports have come via calls to a hotline the county set up for the missing.

It is possible that many or most of the missing are safe but simply can't be reached because of the widespread loss of cell service and other communications.

You can find evacuation and shelter information here. 

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