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Catastrophic California Wildfires Kill at Least 15, Injure 100 as Tens of Thousands Flee for Their Lives

10-10-2017
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California firefighters are battling one of the deadliest groups of fires in state history. Blazes in both northern and southern California have killed at least 15 and injured over 100.

In northern California, the fires have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses including its famous wineries. The devastation looks and feels apocalyptic.

Air quality agencies issued smoke advisories telling residents to limit outdoor activity as thick, gray clouds hovered over cities.  Many schools chose to keep students inside, cancelling sports practices.

READ: Max Lucado: As Natural Disasters Engulf America, Where Is God?

James Cook, a mobile home park manager said, "It looks like a bomb went off. Nothing left of these homes."

"This is the stuff you have nightmares about – your home burning down," a resident named Kat Keller said.

Firefighters are battling an unusually large number of blazes – 14 in Northern California plus a quick-moving one to the south in Anaheim.  Firefighters say they've had to focus mainly on just getting people out.

"Life is our primary focus here and we need you to evacuate so we can protect you," Anaheim Fire & Rescue Spokesman Daron Wyatt said.

The fires have forced tens of thousands of Californians to flee.

In the northern California city of Santa Rosa, hospital staff had to evacuate patients on gurneys.

In Anaheim, parents rushed to pick up their children from school while plumes of smoke hovered over nearby Angels stadium and Disneyland.

Many residents have struggled to quickly gather their belongings and flee their homes.

"I'm in shock, I guess," said resident Jan Kreager as she loaded up her truck with personal items. "This is your life right here."

October is known as the worst time of the year for California wildfires, but normally the state is not battling so many at the same time. Wind and low humidity have not helped.

Firefighters say there's no known connection between the fires and they're not sure what started them.

Officials have received more than 100 reports of missing persons and authorities warn, the death toll could rise.

 

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