The death toll from relentless wildfires in Northern California’s wine country rose to at least 40 by Saturday, in what has become one of the deadliest and most destructive blazes in the state’s history.
“We are in this fight for the long haul,” said Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott at a news conference Wednesday. “It is going to continue to get worse before it gets better.”
The series of firestorms that began Sunday night continues to devastate the region, even as firefighters gained more control amid calmer wind conditions. By Friday morning, the fires had already scorched more than 200,000 acres, destroying thousands of homes and businesses and leveling entire neighborhoods in the densely populated city of Santa Rosa.
The initial cause of the fires still remains unclear, although authorities are investigating power lines downed by high winds as a possible culprit. The blazes spread rapidly, fueled by the winds and dry vegetation.
“We’ve had big fires in the past,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, who declared a state of emergency for the region on Monday. “This is one of the biggest, most serious.”
This Google Crisis map shows fire perimeters of currently active fires (red flame icons), based on continually updated incident reports from Cal Fire. Click the flame icon for current containment information. It also includes air quality information (colored dots). Click on the layers tab at right panel to show shelter and weather information. Zoom out for fire locations in other areas of California.
And these maps, produced by EcoWest, show all of California’s major wildfires this year (both old and new), and a graphic timeline illustrating the rapid spread of the Atlas/Nuns and Tubbs fires over the past week.