Death toll mounts to 40 amid massive wildfire in California

  • Winds blowing at the speed of up to 70 km/h (45mph) fueling the blazes

SANTA ROSA – The death toll has risen to 40 after six days of massive wildfire in California that has destroyed fields and thousands of homes.

California’s Governor Jerry Brown said the state has experienced “one of the greatest tragedies,” adding that the damage ‘is just unbelievable’ and unimaginable.

More than 10,000 firefighters aided by air tankers and helicopters are struggling to extinguish 16 remaining wildfires.

However, the winds blowing at the speed of up to 70 km/h (45mph) fueling the blazes, which have forced hundreds of families to evacuate.

Only in Santa Rosa, which is among most affected areas, 3,000 people were evacuated on Saturday, while more than 100,000 people have been displaced as whole neighbourhood have been reduced to ash.

The fires in Northern California ignited Sunday night and spread with explosive speed because of dry conditions, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said at a Monday news conference. Fueled by strong winds reaching up to 50 mph, firefighters were dealing with “extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions,” according to Cal Fire.

According to BBC, the huge fires have sent smoke and ash over San Francisco, about 50 miles away, and over some towns and cities even further south.