California National Guard uses Black Hawk to put out Wine Country fires

Two women sort through the rubble of the property in Napa California

California Wildfires Blamed For 17 Deaths; High Winds Forecast Tonight

Michael Estrada, who owns a barber shop in neighboring Marin County but grew up in one of the Santa Rosa neighborhoods hit hard by the blazes, brought his combs, clippers and scissors and displayed his barbering license in case anyone doubted his credentials. The fast-moving blazes have destroyed at least 2,000 buildings, many of them in the wine country region of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties.

More than 172,000 homes are now at risk of going up in flames in the Napa and Santa Rosa metropolitan areas, which are usually not prone to wildfires, according to an analysis from CoreLogic.

Events on the ground forced state and federal officials to constantly revise their damage estimates.

California has declared a state of emergency, and federal aid is being given to the regions affected by this tragedy. "And we can start, instead of just worrying about the five minutes in front of our faces - that we're able to take a step back, look five days out, maybe even five weeks out", Coursey said. "And it's probably a sign we've turned a corner on these fires", said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

She was optimistic that the fires will not affect the wines to come out of this year's harvest.

On Saturday, more than two dozen law enforcement officials converged in Santa Rosa's Fountaingrove neighborhood, along a street where every home had been destroyed. As is often typical for significant press briefings, a person standing to the right of the podium translated the officials' words into American Sign Language.

WESTERVELT: Brandon Tolp (ph) a Cal Fire fireman from San Bernardino is at a staging area a mile or so from the Tubb's Fire on the edge of the city of Calistoga, which was evacuated.

Authorities said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. The fire was just her latest trouble: Before finding a long-awaited spot at the shelter, she was homeless. My wife and I are two very active and directed people, but we find ourselves sitting and staring in confusion.

As Cal Fire spokeswoman Jaime Williams said, the winds and low humidity "will challenge the firefighting efforts. So that they have some kind of idea what to do next". Currently, a predicted number of 1,500 to 3,000 homes and structures have been burned down, with a fatality count above 20 by Wednesday evening that is only expected to grow. "The devastation is just unbelievable, is a horror that no one could have imagined".

"For some perspective, it was 50- to 70-mile an hour winds that were in the fire area". They are the seasonal vineyard employees and winery hands, the grapegrowers and pickers, the tasting room attendants, hotel staff, winemakers themselves, and, of course, their families.

The wildfire seems to be unstoppable in Northern California, where firefighters have been battling roughly a week against high, large embers and savagely-rapid winds. "We lived here 10 years, I never thought that Santa Rosa would have a fire like this and we would lose everything".

Most of the major fires were at minimal containment of 3 percent or less, Pimlott said. Jodi Alton, who normally works as an administrative assistant at the Finley Community Center for the city of Santa Rosa, has been helping run the evacuation facility since Monday morning. It says PG&E failed to trim and remove vegetation as it should have. The death toll could climb as searchers dig through the ruins for people listed as missing.

George Cheney, 89, and Edward Stone, 79, were identified as the new Atlas fire's victims, the Napa County officials said. Due to the constant news updates from friends, family, and media outlets, I feared for the absolute worst.

As for the cause of the fires, which were speculated to be connected to downed PG&E power lines, Pimlott said it was too early to speculate.

Search and rescue crews and firefighters are still scouring ash for bodies, finding burnt animals, and letting weary, heartbroken residents back into completely decimated neighborhoods to homes that no longer exist. Fuel, he says, when you don't have time to eat.

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