A Cal Fire official looks over the remains of the Journey’s End mobile home park in Santa Rosa. (Eric Risberg/AP)
Relentless wildfires have caused widespread death and destruction across Northern California’s wine country as flames engulfed multiple counties and raged across more than 170,000 acres, prompting California’s governor to declare a state of emergency and forcing mass evacuations.
Martha Marquez looks over her burned home in Santa Rosa. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) Chris Shiery pets his dog, Ruby, while waiting to evacuate the town of Sonoma. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
“We’re not out of the woods, and we’re not going to be out of the woods for a number of days to come,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott said Wednesday. “We’re literally looking at explosive vegetation. These fires are burning actively during the day and at night.”
A firefighter monitors a flare-up on a the head of a wildfire above the Sonoma Valley. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP) A burned-out McDonald’s restaurant in Santa Rosa. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Efforts to contain the fires have been made more difficult by high winds, low humidity, and parched lands.
Firefighter Chris Corder watches a helicopter dropping water near Geyserville, Calif. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP) A charred power pole and burned trees in Napa. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
“This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event,” said Pimlott, the Cal Fire chief.
This satellite image using shortwave infrared (SWIR) shows damage from the wildfire in Santa Rosa. (Digital Globe via AP) Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)
At least 23 people have been killed in the fires, including an elderly couple who had just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.
Mike Rippey walks away from the burned-out remains of the Napa home where his parents died in the Atlas Fire. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Scores of others have been injured or reported missing, and more than 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed — including at least one fire station.
This aerial image shows homes destroyed by a wildfire in Santa Rosa. (Nick Giblin/DroneBase via AP) Fire burns from an open gas valve near the pool area at the Journey’s End trailer park in Santa Rosa. (Ben Margot/AP) Firefighter Chris Roberts rests in front of Fire Station 5 in Santa Rosa. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)
Much of the damage has been concentrated in Sonoma and Napa counties, the heart of wine country.
Fire is seen from Gundlach Bundschu winery in Sonoma, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The counties boast world-class vineyards and opulent wineries set against a backdrop of undulating hills and rolling fields; but the scene now resembles what one resident described as “Armageddon.”
The fire-ravaged Signorello Estate winery is seen through a window. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP) Burned out wine bottles sit on a rack at the fire-damaged Signorello Estate winery in Napa. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Burned wine barrels are seen at a fire-ravaged Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
One witness described the scenes as something out of a war zone, saying: “It looks like a bombing run. Just chimneys and burned-out cars and cooked trees.”
A chimney stands on the site of a home destroyed by fire in Santa Rosa. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX) Burned cars are seen in Glen Ellen, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
In Santa Rosa, the largest city in Sonoma County, the situation appeared dire. Thirteen deaths were reported across the county by Thursday morning, and countless structures were decimated by fires.
Smoke rises from the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) A man walks past the front of a Kmart store destroyed by a fire in Santa Rosa. (Jeff Chiu/AP) Flames rise from the remains of a house that burned down in Santa Rosa. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
After first igniting late Sunday, the fires — at least 22 in all — remained largely uncontained, and may continue spreading, with dangerous winds whipping back up.
Flames rise from a hillside east of Santa Rosa. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News via AP) A firefighter monitors flames as a house burns near Napa. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) A firefighter walks near a pool as a neighboring home burns near Napa. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images) A firefighter sprays water onto a damaged structure in Santa Rosa. (Stephen Lam/Reuters) The sun rises as flames burn east of Napa. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Among the residents who have been forced to evacuate include patients at threatened hospitals.
In this image made from a KGO-TV video, Kaiser Permanente Hospital employees are seen evacuating a patient. (KGO-TV/ABC7 News via AP)
As the infernos continued to rage, concerns spread that the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma could suffer significant damage.
A small flame is seen at the edge of the Robert Sinskey Vineyard in Napa. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP) The entrance sign to Nicholson Ranch vineyards in Sonoma. (John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock )
As residents returned to their homes to survey the damage, many are finding not much more than charred heaps of rubble and debris.
Phil Rush looks at the remains of his home, destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images) Ben Pederson finds a school yearbook in the remains of his bedroom. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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