California wildfire grows, prompting evacuations

Tens of thousands of acres have burned as deadly wildfires raged out of control through parts of Northern California. Flames consumed swaths of Napa and Sonoma counties' wine country, and more than 20,000 residents scrambled to flee their homes for safety. In this photo, flames consume a home in Glen Ellen, California, on October 9, 2017. (CREDIT: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / CBS)

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire tearing through California’s wine country continues to expand unabated, prompting authorities to order more evacuations.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it ordered mandatory evacuations for several areas of Sonoma Valley after a blaze grew to 44 square miles.

After a day of cooler weather and calmer winds, officials say dangerous gusty winds will return to the region Wednesday afternoon, complicating firefighters’ efforts.

The blaze in Sonoma County is one of a series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday night and continue to burn with little to no containment.  Seventeen people have died in the blazes, 11 of them in Sonoma County.

The fires have also left at least 180 people injured and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses.

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