California deadly wildfires : 17 dead, 2000 buildings destroyed

California deadly wildfires : 17 dead, 2000 buildings destroyed

But Sheriff Robert Giordano said Wednesday that many of those people may have been found but have not yet updated a registry of missing people.

The statewide wildfires have destroyed 3,500 homes and business and burned more than 170,000 acres of land (688 square kilometers), making it one of the worst wildfires in California state.

Two more people were reported dead in Mendocino County during an California Office of Emergency Services news conference Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths in that county to eight related to the Redwood/Potter Fire.

It remained unclear how numerous 463 still listed as unaccounted for might be actual fire victims rather than evacuees who failed to alert authorities after fleeing their homes, he said. "High winds are predicted but we have not received them yet".

About 25,000 people remained displaced on Wednesday as the fires belched smoke that drifted south over the San Francisco Bay area, where some residents donned face masks.

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Already, 25,000 people had been ordered to leave the area and other parts of Northern California and officials in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County called for the evacuations of five more areas.

The deadliest of California's blazes, known as the Tubbs fire, was within 2 miles (3 km) of Calistoga, which had appeared to be in the path of advancing flames but was spared on the first night of the fires.

Almost two dozen fires, whipped by powerful winds, blew through Napa, Sonoma, and elsewhere on Monday morning. Authorities say at least four wineries have been destroyed including an elite one near Atlas Peak in Napa.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed in the North Bay fires and that includes several businesses.

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