Deadly fires still spreading in Northern California

ST. HELENA, Calif. (NBC) – Devastating wildfires continue to burn across Northern California’s wine country.

Four deaths have been confirmed from a fire in Shasta County while in Napa and Sonoma Counties, officials fear hundreds of homes may have been lost.

Hillsides, vineyards and neighborhoods, all igniting with terrifying speed. Overnight, fires exploded in multiple directions across Napa and Sonoma Counties, now threatening more than 22,000 structures.

Veteran firefighters said few people understand how quickly fires can spread, often a deadly mistake. CAL FIRE spokesperson Robert Foxworthy said, “It’ll throw an ember out or something that’s hot up to a mile, maybe two miles out ahead of the main front of the fire, and then next thing you know you’re trapped between the new spot fire that just started and the main front of the fire.”

When flames tore through St. Helena, little could be done to stop it. Multi-million dollar homes and smaller properties are a total loss

Across the region, hundreds of homes have been burned including a Christian elementary school in St. Helena where Minguita Velazquez works. Upon seeing the ruins, she said, “Oh how sad. This is the playground where the kids were running and playing. It’s all gone… it’s burned.”

World-renowned restaurants and wineries have also been destroyed or damaged.

Todd Heth is the winemaker at Fairwinds Estate which is now a pile of rubble. He said, “We’re disappointed and gutted and you know it’s a tragedy.”

But during harvest, there’s no time to reflect on the disaster. A fellow winemaker offered up his facilities so Heth can crush and salvage what he can of his crop. “This has really burned right across the valley so it’s really kind of a scar on the valley, but I know that we’ll come out of it I know that things will… will be… will bloom again,” Heth said.

To give you some perspective, across the west, more than 44,000 wildfires have exploded during the summer had have torn apart 7.1 million acres. Firefighters say they take this battle day by day and home by home.

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