Winds fan ‘catastrophic’ wildfires in California

Renewed high winds are fanning “catastrophic” wildfires that have killed at least 23 people in Northern California.

The State Fire Chief, Ken Pimlott, said thousands of people have been left homeless by the 22 huge blazes, which are spreading fast and unpredictably.

“This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event. We’re not going to be out of the woods for a great number of days to come,” Pimlott said.

He warned that the death toll could rise further.

“We are still impacted by five years of drought. These fires were driven by the critically dry fuel bed. We are literally looking at explosive vegetation,” he added.

Entire towns in the state’s wine-producing region have been abandoned.

The fires are among the deadliest in California’s history and have sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles away.

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