Reduced to ashes: Shocking aerial images capture the devastation wrought by California wildfires as the death toll rises to 23 with nearly 300 MISSING and 20,000 forced to flee their homes

Thursday, October 12, 2017
By Paul Martin

Fires across California have killed 23 people in the north and forced 20,000 people to evacuate their homes
New photos show the apocalyptic destruction in the area, where ash snows down on devastated communities
Around 285 people are still unaccounted for and some 3,500 buildings have been destroyed by the blazes
A series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday are among the deadliest in the state’s history
In Southern California, most evacuation orders were lifted after a fire destroyed 14 buildings, mostly homes

12 October 2017

Ash that resembles snow covers streets and houses in Northern California in overhead images that make clear the devastating destruction caused by wildfires that have been ripping through the area since Sunday night- burning through more than 170,000 acres of land.

Photos taken on Wednesday show the huge plumes of smoke rising from communities ravaged by the fires across California, which have killed 23 people so far in the north and left nearly 300 unaccounted for – as an additional 20,000 across the state have been told to evacuate their homes.

Three days after the fires began firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes which have left behind apocalyptic scenes: entire neighborhoods reduced to ash, 3,500 homes and businesses completely destroyed, and some of the worst air pollution the area has ever seen.

Firefighters started to contain the blazes earlier in the week – before gusts of 20 to 40mph winds and extremely dry conditions joined forces on Wednesday, threatening to spread the flames even further.

Among the tens of thousands of properties that have been damaged are Napa’s wineries, causing wine to flow life a river under smoldered debris after escaping charred barrels.

Among the dead are a married couple, aged 100 and 99, who were unable to evacuate in time. A deaf-blind woman is also believed to be among the dead.

On Wednesday more than 20,000 had been ordered to evacuate their homes. They were told they should bring ‘ready-to-go’ bags packed with medicines and important documents in case they have to flee quickly or, once the flames subside, don’t have a home to go back to.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties and requested a presidential major disaster declaration to help battle at least 18 blazes burning throughout the state.

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