SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):
A wildfire tearing through California’s wine country continues to expand unabated, prompting authorities to order more evacuations.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it ordered mandatory evacuations for several areas of Sonoma Valley after a blaze grew to 44 square miles (113 square kilometers).
After a day of cooler weather and calmer winds, officials say dangerous gusty winds will return to the region Wednesday afternoon, complicating firefighters’ efforts.
The blaze in Sonoma County is one of a series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday night and continue to burn with little to no containment. Seventeen people have died in the blazes, 11 of them in Sonoma County.
The fires have also left at least 180 people injured and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses.
Jose Garnica worked for more than two decades to build up his dream home that was reduced to ashes in a matter of minutes by the deadly firestorm striking Northern California.
Garnica’s house was among more than 2,000 homes and business destroyed by the fires that have also killed 17 people.
He moved to the U.S. from Mexico more than 20 years ago, and after saving money from his steady job with a garbage company he fixed up his Santa Rosa house with new flooring and stainless steel appliances.
All of it burned early Monday when the fires broke out. But Garnica says he’s still better off than when he came to America.
The fires have scorched large sections of the state’s wine country.
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