Scores unaccounted for as California wildfires rage on

Scores unaccounted for as California wildfires rage on
By Alasdair Sandford
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Residents have been returning to assess damage to homes in some areas, amid apocalyptic scenes.

The extent of the damage from the wave of wildfires that have ravaged Northern California since Sunday is becoming evident.


Pictures captured by a drone in Santa Rosa showed that entire districts had been destroyed – including a hotel and a mobile home park.

Moving at high speed, the fires have left at least 17 people dead and about 150 unaccounted for, destroying some 1,500 homes.

Tuesday brought some reprieve: lower temperatures, lower winds and coastal fog enabling emergency crews and residents to return to assess the damage to homes.

“We’re here trying to find what we can salvage. Our plan is to keep those things and when we rebuild, they’ll be mementos of what we’ve lived through and the, just the resilience,” said David Leal, a local resident who lost his home to the fire.

Houses have been reduced to ashes in several communities north of San Francisco. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee with little time to spare.

The wildfires have struck areas home to some of Northern California’s prestigious vineyards. Winemakers say most grapes had been picked before the fires started and it’s too early to estimate the economic impact.

Sonoma County has been among the worst affected. Schools and two hospitals were closed down, at least temporarily.

California’s governor has declared a state of emergency in seven counties overall.

President Trump has approved federal emergency aid for the fires, among the deadliest ever to hit the western US state.

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