23 confirmed dead, hundreds missing as fire outbreak rage California

Updated Thursday 12 October 2017 11:5
23 confirmed dead, hundreds missing as fire outbreak rage California

The flames are spreading fast, the firefighters are stretched thin and the blazes rampaging through Northern California's wine country are nowhere near containment.

As the cluster of fires that has killed 23 people burns, officials ordered residents in some additional areas to get their bags ready in case they need to evacuate.

At least 285 people are still missing in a blaze that has affected almost the entire community. And as sleep-deprived, soot-covered firefighters work to contain the wildfires, some of their homes are being devastated as well.

"This is not easy for anybody. We have firefighters who've either lost their homes or who have family members who have lost their homes," said Jonathan Cox, Cal Fire battalion chief.

Pierre Birebent has made wine at Signorello Estate in Napa Valley for 20 years. The blaze gutted buildings at the popular winery, leaving charred remains strewn across the landscape.

"I want to cry. I'm trying not to," Birebent said.

He pointed at piles of ash and rubble. "This was my file cabinet. The door was here ... there's nothing left," he said.

A few steps away, the winery's barrel room is intact, along with its vintages from last year.

 

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