More evacuations ordered as deadly wildfires scorch Northern California
(CNN)New evacuations were ordered Tuesday evening as more than a dozen wildfires raged across Northern California, with the largest ones killing at least 17 people as they scorched the state’s famous wine country.
The largest of the deadly fires were burning in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, with flames ripping through the lush, picturesque landscape.
Officials in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County called for the evacuations of five more areas Tuesday evening. Already, 20,000 people had been ordered to leave the area and other parts of Northern California.
It is too early to tell whether any of the wildfires were started by humans, said Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire. “All these fires are under investigation,” he told reporters, adding that his department was focusing on rescues and firefighting. But he said the chance the fires were caused by lightning was “fairly minimal.”
• At least 17 people have died since Sunday night, when most of the fires began. A total of 11 deaths were in Sonoma County, officials said.
• Two of those who died were in Napa County, county spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said. They were 100-year-old Charles Rippey and his wife, Sara, 98. They died when a fire engulfed their home near the Silverado Country Club north of Napa, Jourdan said.
Colby Clark, left, comforts her mother, Bonnie Trexler, after law enforcement escorted them to Trexler’s home in Napa, California, to retrieve medicine and personal items on Wednesday, October 11. Trexler was one of the lucky few in her neighborhood whose home was spared. Deadly wildfires have been tearing through the state, destroying homes and businesses and prompting evacuation orders.