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Northern California’s wildfires have now killed 32 people, making this the deadliest week of wildfires in state history.
Sonoma County sheriff Robert Giordano said Friday afternoon that another person had been confirmed dead there. That raises the statewide death total to 32. The Oakland Hills fire of 1991 killed 29 people by itself.
While no one fire currently burning has killed that many, collectively this is the deadliest series of simultaneous fires in the state since records have been kept.
The blazes, most of them in wine country, broke out almost all at once on Sunday night. On Thursday, Sonoma and Napa counties endured a fourth day of choking smoke while many residents fled to shelters or camped out on beaches to await word on their homes and loved ones.
Smoke from wildfires north of San Francisco is creating the worst air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area on record, forcing schools to close on Friday.
Meanwhile, a forecast for gusty winds and dry air threatened to fan the fires. Many of the flames still burned out of control, and the fires grew to more than 300 sq miles (777 sq km), an area as large as New York City.