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Photos show how wildfires are ravaging parts of California's wine country

santa rosa fire
A resident rushes to save his home as an out-of-control wildfire moves through the area on Monday, October 9, 2017, in Glen Ellen, California.
Getty Images

California wildfires have created apocalyptic scenes in wine country, where firefighters were still battling blazes on Thursday morning. The largest fires remain almost completely uncontained.

A series of massive wildfires spread through the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and six others early this week, destroying at least 3,500 homes, businesses, and other structures, and sending residents fleeing for their lives in the middle of the night. An estimated 50,000 people have left their homes for shelters and hotels, and new evacuation orders were issued late on Wednesday.

Dry, gusty winds returned overnight, threatening to push flames into unscathed areas.

The situation is considered one of the deadliest fires in state history. At least 36 people are dead, and another 235 people are reported missing in Sonoma County. Hundreds more have been hospitalized. Local officials describe the death toll as a "fluid number," as the hot zones cool and law enforcement officers begin to uncover human remains in the rubble.

An inferno called the Tubbs Fire (which has accounted for 13 of the deaths) has burned more than 34,000 acres in and around the city of Santa Rosa, according to the Cal Fire website. The Atlas Fire in Napa has charred an additional 43,000 acres. Residents and public officials won't know the full extent of the damage until evacuation orders have been lifted.

"Make no mistake," Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said in a news briefing on Wednesday. "This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event."

We will continue to update this story throughout the day.

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Summary | 6 Annotations
California wildfires have created apocalyptic scenes in wine country, where firefighters were still battling blazes on Thursday morning.
2017/10/13 10:23
A series of massive wildfires spread through the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and six others early this week, destroying at least 3,500 homes,
2017/10/13 10:23
The situation is considered one of the deadliest fires in state history. At least 31 people are reportedly dead, and another 463 people are reported missing in Sonoma County
2017/10/13 10:23
On Monday, videos and photos on social media showed fires burning out of control in Sonoma and Napa, moving through vegetation, buildings, roads, and mobile-home parks.
2017/10/13 10:24
As many as seven fires ignited on Sunday night and grew as hot, dry winds — with gusts of up to 70 miles per hour — carried the flames from ridge top to ridge top in Napa.
2017/10/13 10:25
Mary Caughey, center in blue, reacts with her son Harrison, left, after finding her wedding ring in debris at her home in Kenwood, California, on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
2017/10/13 10:26