SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA (CBSMiami) — Firefighters are working around the clock to contain at least 21 wildfires burning in California – most of them raging in the North.
At least 26 people have died and about 3,500 homes and businesses destroyed.
As crews in Northern California’ wine country battled the wildfires from the air, firefighters on the ground set backfires and doused the flames.
“We are a long way from being done with this,” Chief Ken Pimlott with CAL Fire said.
Multiple fires are still burning through the state.
CAL Fire officials say they’ve made progress against one of the largest affecting the Napa region.
“It’s ten percent contained and while that may not sound like much compared to the others, that fire had zero percent containment for several straight days,” said Chief Pimlott.
Authorities issued new orders for some homeowners to leave Wednesday as strong winds sent flames racing towards communities.
The historic town of Calistoga now looks like a ghost town.
The city’s Mayor wants to keep it that way.
“You will not be given life safety support. At this point, you are on your own. If you’re trying to visit Calistoga, you are not welcomed,” said Mayor Chris Canning.
Dangerous winds have been whipping up off and on, not only in Napa but in Sonoma County, too.
Despite the threat, officials are sending targeted search teams into burned areas to find hundreds of people still unaccounted for.
“We’re using search and rescue team members….And we have cadaver dogs up here that basically can help us find people,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano.
Authorities said the recovery phase will be long and difficult.
It’s still not clear what caused the wildfires.
Officials say there are around 8,000 firefighters currently fighting the flames with more help pouring in from neighboring states everyday. This wildfire, on track to potentially be the worst ever in California, is already ranked as the third most destructive in the state’s history.