A burning structure is seen at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country during the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
CAIRO – 10 October 2017: Fires in Madeira, a central California province, devoured an estimated 2.6 square kilometers of land, while nearly 200 building are threatened with the flames, reported the forest management in California.
Wildfires fanned by strong winds swept through northern California's wine country on Monday, killing at least 10 people, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and forcing some 20,000 people to flee.
The deaths brought the official wildfire-related toll in California this year to 13, the greatest loss of civilian life from a single cluster of blazes in the state in a decade, state fire officials said.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, which encompass some of the state's prime wine-making areas, as the blazes raged unchecked and engulfed the region in thick, billowing smoke that drifted south into the San Francisco Bay area.
The death toll may still rise, said Brad Alexander, a spokesman for the governor's Office of Emergency Services. More than 100 people were treated for fire-related injuries such as burns and smoke inhalation, CNN reported.
Forest fires in Los Angeles, California
The fire in western U.S. also affected forests in Los Angeles, in what was described as the largest forest fire in the history of the city.
Light rains and low temperatures helped firefighters with their task, but officials warned that the threat would continue.
An official in Los Angeles said on Sunday that a change in wind might cause the fire to reignite in northern Los Angeles.
On September 1, the fire destroyed three houses, and damaged a fourth home; causing authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes.
On Monday, about 1,500 homes and commercial buildings were destroyed throughout the region, Ken Pimlott, director of CalFire, told reporters.
Costs of fighting wildfires in the United States
U.S. Minister of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said that firefighting in the United States exceeded $2 billion, a record high, according to Reuters.
Perdue added in his statement that the FDA's spending on fire suppression in recent years has risen from 15 percent of the budget to 55 percent or perhaps more.
Risk of wildfires
Wildfires are one of the most serious environmental hazards facing the world. These fires are characterized by a rapid spread across alarming distances, and may last for months, not only days.
As a result of these fires, environmental hazards, especially the emission of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, loss of wood, plants, and animal and human lives result.
In addition, these fires also distort and damage the aesthetic value and tourism in those areas. The poisonous gases from these fires can also extend to neighboring counties and can transcend state borders.
So far this year, some 7,700 wildfires in California have burned about 780,000 acres of land statewide as of Sunday, CalFire's Berlant said.