Fast-moving fires spread by shifting winds in California Saturday as the death toll rose to 38 – the deadliest in state history, with hundreds of people still missing.
Thousands more Californians were forced to evacuate their homes on Saturday, as officials said of the 38 confirmed fatalities 20 of those dead are in Sonoma County.
Some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, including 3,000 evacuated on Saturday from the city of Santa Rosa, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, and another 250 from nearby Sonoma city.
About 10,000 firefighters supported by air tankers and helicopters overhead were battling 16 major wildfires, some encompassing several smaller merged blazes, in areas north of San Francisco that have consumed nearly 214,000 acres over seven- an area larger than New York City.
‘This is truly one of the greatest tragedies that California has ever faced. The devastation is just unbelievable. It is a horror that no one could have imagined,’ California Governor Jerry Brown told a news conference in Santa Rosa.