California fires: At least 10 dead as 20000 flee flames whipped up by strong winds
Raging wildfires in California's wine country have claimed at least 10 lives and forced thousands to flee, authorities said on Monday.
More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through the region, destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending an estimated 20,000 people on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames.
At least 10 people died and two were seriously injured in the blazes that started on Sunday, fire officials said.
The flames were burning "at explosive rates" because of 50 mph winds, said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Fourteen large fires were burning, spread over a 200-mile region north of San Francisco from Napa in the south to Redding in the north. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered after the blazes broke out late Sunday. Long lines formed at gas stations when many families heeded a middle-of-the-night call to get out. A representative of Pacific Gas & Electric said 114,000 customers were without power.Source: Google News