A series of fast-moving and deadly fires are raging across the Northern California regions around Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Yuba Counties. As of Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports there have been 13 deaths from the fires, at least 150 people have been reported missing, and over 100,000 acres of land have already burned, destroying homes, farms, and large portions of the city of Santa Rosa.
So far, conditions are making containment difficult. Santa Ana winds continue to whip flames through the scrub oak, mustard grass, and other quick-to-burn vegetation growing in the region. The two largest fires, referred to as the Atlas Peak Fire and the Tubbs Fire, are currently considered entirely uncontained and are continuing to spread. Atlas Peak, already burning across Napa County, is growing rapidly and moving closer toward the most densely-populated areas of the popular wine country area.
According to data from CAL FIRE dating back to 1932, there have been only two California fires with higher death tolls than we’ve already seen in these blazes. Most recently, the Cedar Fire which burned in San Diego County in October and November of 2003 claimed 15 lives over the course of 10 days. The deadliest fire on record was the Tunnel Fire (also known as the Oakland Firestorm), which killed 25 people around Berkeley and Oakland on October 19 and 20, 1991.