At least 13 people have died in northern California after what officials are describing as an “unprecedented” wildfire that has already destroyed over 1,500 structures and devastated large swaths of wine country.
“We often have multiple fires going on, but the majority of them all started right around same time period, same time of night – it’s unprecedented,” Amy Head, the fire captain spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, told the Guardian. “I hate using that word because it’s been overused a lot lately because of how fires have been in the past few years, but it truly is – there’s just been a lot of destruction.”
About 20,000 people have been evacuated, including hundreds of senior citizens from nursing homes, and public schools in Napa and Sonoma counties were closed Tuesday. Major fires in those regions remain completely uncontained, threatening thousands of homes and vineyards in the wine country north of San Francisco.
Videos and pictures of the devastation caused by the fires are emerging, and are both heartbreaking and frightening. Many people have lost everything to the flames.
Most of the fires began Sunday night. In addition to the 11 people who lost their lives, over 100 have suffered burns and injuries. They are currently being treated at Napa and Sonoma area hospitals.
In less than two days, the wildfires have covered over 119,032 acres in California.
Many residents barely evacuated in time. One reported seeing the sky turn red and smelling smoke, and it wasn’t long before the fire arrived. Another resident said she had less than four minutes to evacuate before the flames engulfed her home.
Firefighters are working around the clock to try to contain the fires. The weather on Tuesday is reportedly supposed to aid them in their efforts.
Join us in praying for the people of California, many of whom have lost so much to these fires.