California Wildfires Kill At Least 31, Deadliest Week For Fires In State History

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Oct 14 (Reuters) - Fast-moving fires spread by shifting winds forced thousands more Californians to evacuate their homes on Saturday as the death toll from the deadliest blaze recorded in the state's history rose to at least 38, with hundreds of people still missing.

About 10,000 firefighters supported by air tankers and helicopters overhead were battling 16 major wildfires, some encompassing several smaller merged blazes, in areas north of San Francisco that have consumed nearly 214,000 acres (86,000 hectares) over seven days, or roughly 334 square miles (865 sq km) - an area larger than New York City.

The 38 confirmed fatalities, including 20 in Sonoma County, already make it the deadliest fire event in California history.

Some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, including 3,000 evacuated on Saturday from the city of Santa Rosa, about 50 miles (80 km) north of San Francisco, and another 250 from nearby Sonoma city.

"This is truly one of the greatest tragedies that California has ever faced. The devastation is just unbelievable. It is a horror that no one could have imagined," California Governor Jerry Brown told a news conference in Santa Rosa.

The fires have damaged or destroyed about 5,700 structures, reducing homes and businesses to ash. The fires' death toll surpassed the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.

"It's an unwieldy beast right now," fire information officer Dennis Rein said at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, the main staging area for the so-called Nuns Fire in Sonoma County, a world-renowned wine-producing region.

At least a dozen Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries were damaged or destroyed, throwing the state's wine industry and related tourism into disarray.

Related: Shocking images from the fire

28 PHOTOS Aerial images of California's wildfire devastation See Gallery Aol.com Aerial images of California's wildfire devastation
An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase TOPSHOT - An aerial view shows a burned property in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Residences and vineyards burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images An aerial view shows a burned school in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial view shows firefighters working at a burned property in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 11: An aerial view of homes that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. At least 21 people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 3,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crew repairing a downed power line damaged by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg via Getty Images An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California. More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase Traffic travelling along a highway near a Kmart discount store burned by wildfires is seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase In this aerial view, burned properties are seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images) An aerial shows damage caused by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S October 11, 2017. Picture taken October 11, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images In this aerial view, burned properties are seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) TOPSHOT - An aerial view shows burned properties in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017. Hundreds of people are still missing in massive wildfires which have swept through California killing at least 26 people and damaging thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Residences burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images TOPSHOT - Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
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For the picturesque Napa Valley town of Calistoga, the winds were a double-edged sword. The town was spared by hazardous winds when they shifted, Mayor Chris Canning said, though he warned a resurgence could pose a new threat.

The town of roughly 5,000 people had been evacuated, he said.

Firefighters from states including Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada have joined crews from California to battle the blazes.

From the air, some 70 helicopters and large aircraft including a 747, two DC-10s and about a dozen air tankers doused flames across the sprawling affected area with fire retardant, officials said.

On the ground, prison inmates were helping firefighters - sometimes digging lines to help contain fires, other times preparing meals at command centers, always watched over by guard.

In an area largely dependent on immigrant farm labor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they would temporarily suspend routine operations during the emergency, "except in the event of a serious criminal presenting a public safety threat," spokesman James Schwab said in a statement.

SHIFTING WINDS

Ground crews gained on the wildfires on Friday, but drier weather and fast-shifting winds complicated efforts on Saturday, sparking a large new wildfire in Lake County, officials said.

The Nuns Fire, which had killed at least one person, was only 10 percent contained with winds threatening more residential areas, Cal Fire spokesman Antonio Negrete said.

But the more deadly Tubbs Fire, which killed at least 17 people in Sonoma County, was 44 percent contained, which officials considered a victory.

"It's cautious optimism, but it's optimism," Negrete said of the Tubbs Fire.

Cal Fire had estimated the fires would be contained by Oct. 20, but Rein said they may need to revise that date because of the winds that kicked up.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, at the news conference with the governor in Santa Rosa pledged more federal aid to the region to help it through the devastation.

Related: California's fires

43 PHOTOS California's wildfire damages See Gallery Aol.com California's wildfire damages
Winemaker Pierre Birebent inspects a melted wine bottle among the burned out remains of the Signorello Estate Winery in Napa, California on October 11, 2017. More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Bicycles destroyed by wildfires are seen in Santa Rosa, California, on October 11, 2017. The toll from Northern California's ranging wildfires continued to grow as officials said the fires destroyed up to 2,000 structures and killed at least 17 people. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) A car destroyed by wildfires is seen in Santa Rosa, California, on October 11, 2017. The toll from Northern California's ranging wildfires continued to grow as officials said the fires destroyed up to 2,000 structures and killed at least 17 people. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) Homes destroyed by wildfires are seen in Santa Rosa, California, on October 11, 2017. The toll from Northern California's ranging wildfires continued to grow as officials said the fires destroyed up to 2,000 structures and killed at least 17 people. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) A car destroyed by wildfires si seen in Santa Rosa, California, on October 11, 2017. The toll from Northern California's ranging wildfires continued to grow as officials said the fires destroyed up to 2,000 structures and killed at least 17 people. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 10: A toy car is left scorched in a neighborhood destroyed by fire near Cardinal Newman High School on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 10: A man retrieves coins from the ruins of his house in a neighborhood destroyed by fire near Cardinal Newman High School on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 10: A statue of Jesus praying with arms raised is seen among fire damaged buildings at Cardinal Newman High School on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) Burned wine barrels are seen at a destroyed Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) A bubbling underground river of wine flows away from a burned Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Paradise Ridge Winery is seen burned to the ground in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Burned wine barrels are seen at a destroyed Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) TOPSHOT - A destroyed Journeys End Mobile Home Park is seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Owner Rene Byck looks over remains of his Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California, on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) A wild turkey wanders through a burned brush in Santa Rosa, California, on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Mike Reynolds of the housing and community services department for the city of Santa Rosa places a red-tag sign on a burned down Arby's restaurant in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) GLEN ELLEN, CA - OCTOBER 10: A view of the remains of multiple homes that were destroyed by the Nuns Fire on October 10, 2017 in Glen Ellen, California. Fifteen people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 2,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) GLEN ELLEN, CA - OCTOBER 10: A view of the remains of a home that was destroyed by the Nuns Fire on October 10, 2017 in Glen Ellen, California. Fifteen people have died in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres and destroyed over 2,000 homes and businesses in several Northen California counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) The entrance to an Arby's restaurant is seen after burning down in Santa Rosa, California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) The remains of an Arby's restaurant is seen after burning down in Santa Rosa, California, on October 10, 2017. Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state's famed wine country. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 10: A neighborhood is destroyed by fire in the area of Foxtail Court, on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 10: A neighborhood is destroyed by fire in the area of Foxtail Court, on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 10: A neighborhood is destroyed by fire in the area of Foxtail Court, on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 10: A neighborhood is destroyed by fire in the area of Foxtail Court, on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 10: A man looks for something to salvage in a neighborhood destroyed by fire in the area of Foxtail Court, on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. In one of the worst wildfires in state history, at least 1,500 homes have burned and 11 people have died as more than 14 wildfires continue to spread in eight Northern California counties. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) CALIFORNIA, USA - OCTOBER 10: The remains of a damaged buildings are seen after a wildfire moved through the area in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley in California, United States on October 10, 2017 leaving at least 10 people dead and destroying homes and businesses in their path. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) CALIFORNIA, USA - OCTOBER 10: The remains of a damaged buildings are seen after a wildfire moved through the area in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley in California, United States on October 10, 2017 leaving at least 10 people dead and destroying homes and businesses in their path. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) CALIFORNIA, USA - OCTOBER 10: The remains of a damaged buildings are seen after a wildfire moved through the area in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley in California, United States on October 10, 2017 leaving at least 10 people dead and destroying homes and businesses in their path. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 9: The Estancia Apartment Homes on Old Redwood Hwy. were completely destroyed on October 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 9: A Fountaingrove Village homeowner surveys her destroyed home she and her husband have owned for 4 years in Santa Rosa on October 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 9: A police officer looks over the destruction of a home in a neighborhood off Fountaingrove Parkway near the Hilltop in Santa Rosa on October 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 09: The remains of the fire damaged Signarello Estate winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Napa, California. Tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 09: The remains of the fire damaged Signarello Estate winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Napa, California. Tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Resident Louis Reavis views his burned classic Corvette at his home in Napa, California on October 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) GLEN ELLEN, CA - OCTOBER 09: Burned cars sit idle after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Glen Ellen, California. Tens of thousands of acres and dozens of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) GLEN ELLEN, CA - OCTOBER 09: The remains of fire damaged homes after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Glen Ellen, California. Tens of thousands of acres and dozens of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) The William Hill Estate Winery sign is seen partially burnt in Napa, California on October 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 09: Burned out wine bottles sit on a rack at the fire damaged Signarello Estate winery after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Napa, California. Tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Damage from the Napa fire is seen on a destroyed goat dairy farm on October 10, 2017 in Carneros a town just outside of Napa, California. Firefighters battled wildfires in California's wine region on October 10 as the death toll rose to 15 and thousands were left homeless in neighborhoods reduced to ashes. / AFP PHOTO / Amy Osborne (Photo credit should read AMY OSBORNE/AFP/Getty Images) Grape vines damaged by heat from wildfires are seen at a vineyard in Santa Rosa, California, on October 11, 2017. The toll from Northern California's ranging wildfires continued to grow as officials said the fires destroyed up to 2,000 structures and killed at least 17 people / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 11: Some houses burned and some did not. Aerial view of the damage caused by wildfire that destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.(Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) SANTA ROSA, CA - OCTOBER 11: An American hangs outside a home burned down by wildfire that destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 11, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.(Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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Whole neighborhoods of Santa Rosa have been reduced to landscapes of ash, smoldering debris and burned-out vehicles.

Some victims were asleep when flames engulfed their homes, and many survivors had only minutes to flee.

As parts of Santa Rosa were devastated, Calistoga, about 12 miles (20 km) to the northeast, faced hazardous winds that were forecast to push the Tubbs Fire toward town.

Mayor Canning said the shifting winds kept the flames at least two miles (3.2 km) from the city limit.

"If the winds shift and come back again, that's a big concern," he said in a telephone interview.

All but 12 of the city's 5,200 people heeded evacuation orders and left, Canning said.

"Nobody was confrontational," Canning said. "When the police or firefighters knocked on doors, most people were already ready to go with their bags packed."

With 235 people still missing on Saturday in Sonoma County alone, and rubble from thousands of incinerated dwellings yet to be searched, authorities have said the number of fatalities from the North Bay fires would likely climb.

The year's wildfire season is one of the worst in history in the United States, with nearly 8.6 million acres (3.5 million hectares) burned, just behind 2012, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. (Reporting by Heather Somerville; additional reporting by Daniel Trotta, Keith Coffman and Jon Herskovitz; writing by Daniel Trotta; editing by Bill Trott, Leslie Adler and G Crosse)

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