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At Least 21 Dead In California Wildfires

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SANTA ROSA, CA (CBSMiami) – Two full days and counting and wildfires throughout California continue to burn.

At least 21 people are dead, at least 180 people have been injured and nearly 700 are still reported missing in the wildfires that have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses.

The fires, primarily in northern California wine country, are already be billed as among the deadliest in the state’s history.

“This is nowhere near over it is still very dangerous,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano.

Lilly Biagini and her mom were away from their Santa Rosa home Sunday night before the fire broke out. They weren’t able to return.

“I lost my legs, I lost everything,” the 9-year-old said.

The fire destroyed Lilly’s home. Her prosthetic legs were inside.

“They’re really important to me, they’re a lot of money,” she said.

First responders and elected officials held a public community meeting at Santa Rosa High School. Residents eager to return to their houses were asked to remain patient.

“We want you back in your homes sooner than later but we gotta keep everybody alive first and everybody safe first and all of our resources are on that evacuation and moving people out,” said Giordano.

Those who were able to return home are often finding what David Leal did – very little left. He’s now living out of his car.

“It’s been hard to see what we’ve built and put into the place and now it’s reduced to what you see here,” said Leal whose house was destroyed.

In addition to all the personal devastation the fires have caused, there is also the destruction it has done and continues to do to the lifeblood of this region, the wine industry.

One Napa County trade group says at least five of its wineries have been destroyed or seriously damaged.

Todd Caughey had a vineyard in his backyard.

“We’re back here today for the first time to just see what was left, if anything. And really, it’s just devastation, there’s nothing left,” said Caughey, who lives in Kenwood.

The wine industry in Sonoma and Napa Valley employs more than 50,000 people.

Federal aid is on the way to the region. The White House announced is has approved Governor Jerry Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration in California.

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