Death toll rises to 17 as fires ravage California

Thousands homeless after wildfires ravage Northern California's wine country, killing 17. Tens of thousands of homes still at risk.

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David Rosenberg,

Forest fire
Forest fire
Flash 90

The death toll from a series of forest fires in Northern California rose to 17 Wednesday morning, three days after the blazes were ignited across counties north of San Francisco earlier this week.

Nearly a dozen fires ravaged the northern Bay Area and Northern California’s wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties this week.

At least 17 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the fires, some of which continued to rage out of control early Wednesday morning. More than 2,000 buildings have been destroyed.

Authorities expanded evacuations across Napa County late Tuesday night, as fires threatened tens thousands of structures in Napa and neighboring Sonoma counties.

On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for much of Northern California and beyond because of the multiple wildfires.

The declaration covers Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

In total, the fires covered some 120,000 acres of land across Northern California Tuesday, leading Congressman Mike Thompson (D., CA-5) to declare the fire the worst in California history.

In October 1991, a single firestorm ravaged the Oakland hills in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area, killing 25 and destroying some 3,300 homes across 1,500 acres.