SANTA ROSA — The death toll from the Northern California fires raised to 15 Tuesday. Authorities are worried more bodies might be found. At least 2,000 buildings and homes have been destroyed. That number is expected to grow. There are currently 15 fires burning in 6 counties. These are the deadliest fires in California's history.
Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano announced that crews are working on 240 missing persons reports that they've received since the blaze started Sunday. He said his agency had a team of people working on it and 57 of the 240 people have been found safely.
The Tubbs fire has burned 27,000 acres already. That blaze started around Calistoga and spread to Santa Rosa. It is still not contained. Nine people have died in Sonoma County.
In Napa County the Atlas Fire burned 25,000 acres and is also still 0% contained, just like the Tubbs fire. A couple authorities identified as 100-year-old Charles Rippey and his 98-year-old wife Sara were among those who died. Queen of the Valley Hospital says they treated 50 people today. Several wineries have been destroyed in the area and prices are expected to increase.
The Redwood and Potter Fire in Mendocino County has burned 21,000 acres and is 0% contained. Three people have died.
In Yuba County one person died as they tried to escape from the fumes. Officials suspect the death toll to rise more.
Thousands of people have evacuated in and around those counties. The air quality has been poor from all the fires crews are battling. The fires burning have turned neighborhoods to ashes and consumed 107,000 acres. Fire officials say none have been contained. Several people have been coming to hospitals seeking burn treatment.
Winds played a part in the fires spreading fast. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said, “The conditions are just so tinder-dry. Even with the wind dying down, our fire risk continues to elevate. We know we have made progress overnight. Once the sun comes up we will have a better idea [of the containment level.]”
Almost 100,000 customers in Sonoma and Napa counties began Tuesday without power. Residents are being told by water quality officials to boil their drinking water for safety.
In order to prevent looting, a curfew was setup in Santa Rosa and San Francisco police sent 100 police officers to the town.
Residents at emergency shelters said they were shocked by how fast the flames were moving. They left belongings behind.
Smoke was seen all the way to San Francisco which is 60 miles away. A majority of the damage was in Santa Rosa which is a more developed city with a home to over 175,000 residents.