Death toll rises to 40 as firefighters continue to battle massive California wildfires – Los Angeles Times

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As the death toll rose to 40, firefighters struggled Saturday to get the upper hand against several massive wildfires that have ravaged Northern California for almost a week.

Strong winds kicked up overnight in the central Napa Valley region, causing some fires to spread and triggering evacuations in Sonoma and elsewhere, officials said.

Fire officials feared that winds forecast for Saturday would be similar to those that stoked the first flames on Oct. 8 and that have since exploded to more than 15 fires that have scorched 220,000 acres, destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures and caused at least 40 deaths.

Despite low humidity and red flag warnings throughout the region, however, the winds appeared to calm down Saturday afternoon, aiding firefighters who have been battling the fire around the clock, officials said.

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