• News Desk

Northern California wildfire death toll rises to four as crews scramble to beat winds

CALISTOGA, Calif. (Reuters) - The death toll from a wildfire raging in northern California’s Cascade foothills climbed to four on Wednesday as firefighters battling that blaze and another wreaking havoc in wine country near San Francisco braced to confront a new bout of high winds.

Diminished winds across northern California assisted fire crews in making some initial headway on Tuesday against both blazes, which have scorched well over 100,000 acres (40,000 hectares) combined since they erupted about 200 miles (320 km) apart on Sunday.

On Wednesday, crews fighting the so-called Zogg Fire in Shasta County and a separate blaze dubbed the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties scrambled to reinforce their control lines and tamp down hotspots while weather remained in their favor.

A red-flag warning for heightened wildfire risks, including extreme winds, was set to be reinstated Wednesday evening for areas just north of San Francisco Bay, including the world-class wine-growing regions of Napa and Sonoma counties.

“Now’s the time for our firefighters to buckle down,” Bill See, a California Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) commander said during a late-morning update on the Glass Fire, which stood at just 2% containment on Wednesday. “We’ll be diligently trying to secure the back door on this fire.”

Authorities were also on guard for a return of high winds in Shasta County, closer to the Oregon border, where the Zogg Fire was listed at 7% containment, Cal Fire officials said.

The Shasta County sheriff reported that an evacuee who was badly burned on the first day died on Tuesday night, marking the fourth fatality from the Zogg, all of them civilians.

Their deaths brought to 30 the number of people killed since mid-August in what now ranks as the worst California wildfire season on record in terms of acreage burned.


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