California Wildfires Kill 11, Burn 1,500 Buildings

Firefighters in the western U.S. state of California are battling more than a dozen wildfires that have killed at least 11 people and sent thousands fleeing their homes.

Anaheim Fire and Rescue spokesman Daron Wyatt said Tuesday, “We don’t expect a very good turn for our favor until tomorrow,” adding that current weather conditions could lead to more fires.

Wyatt said the fires were at “zero percent containment”, noting that the “massive” perimeters of the fires and strapped resources in the state of California were slowing response capabilities.

The cause of the fires is not clear, but wildfires are common in California this time of year and the flames can spread quickly across dry landscapes with the help of strong winds.

Twenty thousand people have been evacuated, including hundreds from area hospitals. The fires, which collectively are the deadliest in California history, have burned more than 100,000 acres in the state.

State fire officials estimated Monday the fires had burned 1,500 homes and businesses, while hospitals said more than 100 people had sought treatment, mostly for smoke inhalation. The number of casualties is expected to rise.

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties, which are home to many of the state’s popular wineries.