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Wildfires tear through California; 10 dead, thousands evacuated
At least 10 people have died in raging wildfires across California.
Seventeen fires are burning around the state, with nearly 90,000 acres ablaze thanks to flames fueled by strong winds. The fires have destroyed at least 1,500 structures and forced the evacuation of 20,000 residents.
In Anaheim, hundreds of firefighters have mobilized to fight a blaze burning over an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 acres. Thousands of residents are impacted by the flames.
Ken Pimlott, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), said the fires started around 10 p.m. local time Sunday.
With the flames sweeping through entire communities, some area hospitals have been evacuated. Evacuations were also issued for surrounding counties that are under threat, according to the Napa Valley Sheriff's Office.
Pimlott said firefighters are concentrating on saving lives rather than battling the blazes.
The National Weather Service reported strong winds in the San Francisco Bay Area, intensifying the infernos as they tear through businesses and homes.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the counties most at risk. The warning means conditions are critical.
Strong winds, relatively low humidity and warm temperatures can lead to extreme weather, according to the National Weather Service.
The Atlas fire, which is just south of Lake Berryessa in Napa Valley, has scorched 5,000 acres since it started.
The causes of the fires are still under investigation.
Meteorologist Mike Nicco of KGO-TV in San Francisco has been tweeting updates on the fires.
"Unfortunately, this is not needed rain. It's is smoke and it is thick and toxic."
Marin County said on its official Twitter page that it's been overwhelmed with calls from residents.
Churches and community centers are opening their doors to families seeking refuge from the fires.