Reduced to ashes: Shocking aerial images capture the devastation wrought by California wildfires as the death toll rises to 23 with nearly 300 MISSING and 20,000 forced to flee their homes

Mail Online | 10/12/2017 | Abigail Miller For Dailymail.com;Ruth Styles In Anaheim Hills, California, For Dailymail.com;Kelly Mclaughlin For Mailonline
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Ash that resembles snow covers streets and houses in Northern California in overhead images that make clear the devastating destruction caused by wildfires that have been ripping through the area since Sunday night- burning through more than 170,000 acres of land.

Photos taken on Wednesday show the huge plumes of smoke rising from communities ravaged by the fires across California, which have killed 23 people so far in the north and left nearly 300 unaccounted for - as an additional 20,000 across the state have been told to evacuate their homes.

Days - Fires - Firefighters - Control - Blazes

Three days after the fires began firefighters were still unable to gain control of the blazes which have left behind apocalyptic scenes: entire neighborhoods reduced to ash, 3,500 homes and businesses completely destroyed, and some of the worst air pollution the area has ever seen.

Firefighters started to contain the blazes earlier in the week - before gusts of 20 to 40mph winds and extremely dry conditions joined forces on Wednesday, threatening to spread the flames even further.

Tens - Thousands - Properties - Napa - Wineries

Among the tens of thousands of properties that have been damaged are Napa's wineries, causing wine to flow life a river under smoldered debris after escaping charred barrels.

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Couple - Time - Woman

Among the dead are a married couple, aged 100 and 99, who were unable to evacuate in time. A deaf-blind woman is also believed to be among the dead.

On Wednesday more than 20,000 had been ordered to evacuate their homes. They were told they should bring 'ready-to-go' bags packed with medicines and important documents in case they have to flee quickly or, once the flames subside, don't have a home to go back to.

Governor - Jerry - Brown - State - Emergency

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties and requested a presidential major disaster declaration to help battle...
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