21 dead, 550 people still missing as fires rip through California

American authorities are facing resurgent winds and bone-dry conditions as they battle the advances of wildfires which have now killed 21 people.

Over 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed by the blazes which have ravaged Northern California’s famed wine country.

Authorities are attempting to locate 550 people who have been reported missing since the infernos started.


22 fires, spanning nine counties, have scorched nearly 170,000 hectares since the fires first started last weekend in what California Fire Authorities say is one of the deadliest outbreaks in their history.

Firefighters have used a slight lull in winds to move across the mountainsides attacking hot spots, chopping down shrubs and using shovels and create fire breaks.

The erratic, and often strong, winds of California have spread the fires quickly and more gusty winds are predicted for the next few days.

Large parts of Northern California have been classified as a major disaster area and Vice President Mike Pence says they’re “profoundly inspired and grateful by the firefighters that are in the fight”.