The California wildfires have raged for more than a week, killing 40 people, destroying thousands of structures, and reducing hundreds of thousands of acres to smoldering rubble. Encouraged by gusty winds, more than 20 separate blazes have wiped businesses, homes, wineries, and entire neighborhoods out of existence.
Aerial view of Santa Rosa, California, on Oct. 11, 2017.| (REUTERS/DroneBase)
While the worst damage has come in the wine country north of the San Francisco Bay Area, the devastation is hardly limited to this area. The Canyon 2 Fire in Anaheim — marked by an ominous glow around Disneyland — burned at least a dozen structures in Orange County and forced thousands from their homes.
Wildfires burning in Anaheim create an eerie glow behind Disneyland on Oct. 9. | (INSTAGRAM/ KENNYA.BOULTER /Kennya Boulter via REUTERS)
As officials comb the blackened ruins of the hardest-hit areas of Northern California, they face a new grim reality: "We may never get truly confirmative identification on ashes," Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said during a press conference. "When you're cremated, you can't get an ID."
"We're going to be a long time recovering from this incident," Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said. "[We've] suffered a serious blow."
Below, witness the unfathomable wrath of the California wildfires, one of the most devastating series of blazes to strike in modern history.
Smoke over Sonoma Valley on Oct. 10. | (INSTAGRAM / Greg Espiritu via REUTERS)
The forest west of Napa on Oct. 12. | (David McNew/Getty Images)
Flames consume a home in Glen Ellen on Oct. 9. | (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Firefighters in Orange County on Oct. 9. | (REUTERS/Mike Blake)
The burning remains of a home in Glen Ellen on Oct. 9. | (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Calistoga on Oct. 12. | (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)
Rivers of melted metal flow from charred cars in Glen Ellen on Oct. 9. | (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
An elementary school playground smolders in Sonoma on Oct. 10. | (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
A resident walks across the remains of his home in Santa Rosa on Oct. 11. | (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)