Smoke hangs thick in the air, and the sky is often tinted with a bright orange glow as wildfires throughout the area continue to rage. 21 people have been confirmed dead, and over 500 people have been reported missing. While the amount of damage can’t be assessed at this time, initial estimates suggest it reaches $65 billion.
As reported by CNN, California firefighters are currently working to contain 22 wildfires. Over 170,000 acres have already been burned, and dry conditions with winds reaching 79 mph in the region could make the situation worse.
Chad Meyers, a CNN meteorologist, states, “Any time you get a wind gust over double digits, like 12 or 13 mph, that’s when embers can fly.” He added, “Hotspots… will be fanned by the [winds] today.”
As of Tuesday night, over 20,000 people have been told to evacuate the region, and those in nearby areas are being encouraged to pack “ready-to-go bags” in case the wildfires head their direction.
Rob Giordano, the Sonoma County Sheriff, when a step further, making the suggestion on Wednesday that those who’ve been told to prepare to potentially evacuate should go anyway.
Giordano said, “Traffic is bad in the county. If we have to evacuate people, it’d be better to have you [already] out of the area. If you have a place to go, go.”
Wildfires are burning throughout the state, but the largest ones are in Sonoma in Northern California as well as Napa and Mendocino counties.
As of Wednesday, more than 500 people are reported as missing in just Sonoma County. The fires have also caused the death of 21 people since Sunday night with 11 being killed by the Tubbs wildfire which is located in Sonoma County. The death toll is expected to rise as firefighters and authorities are not yet searching burned buildings in certain areas for burned bodies.
The Tubbs wildfire is now the sixth-deadliest fire in California history.
As reported by CNN, a recent analysis by CoreLogic, a property analytics firm, suggest that the cost associated with rebuilding cost reach $65 billion. The damage to homes alone could total $5 billion.