01:43 GMT +324 October 2017
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    An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 11, 2017

    California Wine Country's Worst Year: Wildfires Kill, Burn Homes, Ravage Fields

    © REUTERS/ Stephen Lam
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    At least 23 people have been killed and 180 more were injured in Northern California's wildfires, which show no sign of abating, according to local authorities.

    Massive blazes, which have persisted in the area since last Sunday, also burned about 265 square miles of California's legendary Napa and Sonoma valleys and beyond, destroying around 3,500 homes. Many have already called the wildfires among the worst in California's history.

    "It's an extremely stressful and challenging time. We are all hands on deck", Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying.

    He was echoed by Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, who referred to "a very serious situation" which she warned may be further exacerbated by return of strong winds.

    An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 11, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Stephen Lam
    An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 11, 2017

    More than 20,000 people have already been evacuated across California as hundreds more are currently leaving their homes amid the ongoing blazes.

    At least 8,000 firefighters are trying to tackle the natural disaster in an effort that is backed by 73 helicopters and 30 air tankers, according to media reports.

    An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 11, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Stephen Lam
    An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 11, 2017

    According to the US Treasury Department, over 680 million gallons, or 25.75 million hectoliters, of wine was produced in California in 2016. For comparison's sake, France produced 43.2 million hectoliters of wine in the same year.

    The Guardian quoted Sonoma County sheriff Robert Giordano as saying that "the devastation is enormous" and that the death toll will further increase. According to him, more than 600 people remain missing in the California wildfires.

    Related:

    Sonoma Deputies Brave Heart of California Wildfires
    Death Toll in California’s Wildfires Rises to 17, Hundreds Hospitalized
    Northern California Wildfires Claim More Lives as Massive Blaze Spreads (VIDEOS)
    Tags:
    devastation, wildfires, helicopters, firefighters, authorities, United States, California
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