At Least 17 People Dead In Devastating California Forest Fires

State of emergency declared

At Least 17 People Dead In Devastating California Forest Fires Image: CBS News/Twitter

At least 17 people are dead and more than 2,000 buildings have been destroyed as thousands of firefighters have worked to contain a string of “devastating” forest fires in Northern California.

More than 25,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their smoke-filled homes around the San Francisco region in the middle of the night, the Washington Post reports.

In what’s now been declared a “federal emergency”, 180 people are also missing with the death toll expected to rise.

Calfornia Fire Chief Ken Pimlott told reporters the devastating blaze took many residents by surprise.

“These fires came down into neighborhoods before anyone knew there was a fire in many cases,” he said.

“This is just pure devastation and it’s going to take us a while to get out and comb through all of this.”

The extent of the damage has seen US President Donald Trump approve emergency assistance to the state of California, with aid including rescue shelters and funds to clear debris.

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