[Ed. – Legitimately one of the worst events in recorded history in California, and terrifying for many of the residents having to flee on no notice. What makes this one so bad is the number of people there are in residential areas now, in the cyclically fire-prone valleys north of San Francisco. The carefully platted suburbs run much further out than they did even 20 years ago. Water management policy in the area doesn’t help, but all the talk of factors like the recent drought (which ended this past year) and “climate change” are political opportunism. The Diablo winds have been hitting the Bay Area on a cyclical basis for a very long time. As with the hurricane-prone East, more and more people choose to live directly in their path.]
As the death toll from 16 wildfires raging in Northern California climbed Wednesday, thousands more residents in Calistoga and elsewhere were ordered to flee their homes and firefighters raced against the setting sun to douse smoldering hot spots before devilish winds returned to breathe new life into the blazes.
During searches of destroyed homes, authorities found more bodies, bringing the number of dead to at least 23, fire officials said. The loss of life, along with the estimated 170,000 acres and 3,500 structures already burned, ranked the fires as some of the most destructive in state history. …
With an estimated 50,000 people having left their homes for shelters and hotels, police continued to work to locate several hundred people reported missing by panicked relatives and friends.