How did Northern California fires become so devastating?

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13 dead as wildfires torch California wine country, state of emergency declared in eight counties

Wildfires fanned by strong winds have ripped through Californian wine country, killing at least 10 people, forcing some 20,000 residents to flee and destroying 1,500 homes and businesses.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant says fire activity increased significantly overnight, destroying more buildings and leading to new mandatory evacuations in several areas.

More than 200 fire engines and crews are being rushed to California from the rest of the USA, officials said.

Some 5,000 people from the historic town of Calistoga, situated in northern Napa County, were being evacuated.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said he also expects the death toll to climb.

The weather gave firefighters a bit of a respite on Tuesday as cooler temperatures, lower winds and coastal fog enabled them to make headway against the flames.

Noting that fire officials made similar pronouncements when the Butte fire ravaged rural Northern California counties in the fall of 2015, Pimlott added, "I think we've raised the bar". Communities in Sonoma County were also under threat from the Nuns and Pocket fires, where nearly 10,000 acres had burned.

Though the National Weather Service said there are a few small fires burning in Idaho, none of them are big enough to cause this much haze.

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Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire, said it was too soon to determine how the fires started. As the fires grow, officials voiced concern that separate blazes would merge into even larger infernos. In Napa and Solano counties, the Atlas Fire was at 26,000 acres and was only 3 percent contained.

If it turns out that PG&E is responsible for this fire and negligent for not putting in the resources or for diverting the resources, then I will be the first one to stand up and say we need to dissolve PG&E as a private company and form a public utility.

"That's very bad", resident Nick Hinman said when a deputy sheriff warned him that the driving winds could shift the wildfires toward the town where 11,000 people live. Some 4,000 people are battling the fires, including crews from Nevada and the U.S. Forest Service.

Officials in Sonoma County said they've received more than 100 calls about missing people, NBC News reported.

Jerry Brown (D) issued an emergency proclamation for three counties north of San Francisco on Monday as firefighters struggled to contain some 25 wind-fueled blazes raging through wine country.

"The historic wind event that swept across PG&E's service area late Sunday and early Monday packed hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75 miles per hour in some cases", Pacific Gas and Electric Company said.

President Donald Trump has declared parts of Northern California a disaster area, making it eligible for speedy federal aid. Gov. "Please help me find her". Larson said he wished he had grabbed the gun as he left.

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