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Aerial view of a destroyed neighbourhood in Santa Rosa, California. 

(Photo: AP) 

In Photos: Seventeen Simultaneous Wildfires Rage Across California

Northern California wildfires claimed at least 23 lives and more than 100K acres were burned down. 

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Newly homeless residents of Northern California took stock of their shattered lives on Tuesday while the blazes that have killed at least 17 people, displaced more than 20,000 and destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses, kept burning. Hundreds more firefighters joined the battle against the uncontained flames that spread over more than 100 acres.

The wildfires already rank among the five deadliest in California history, and officials expect the death toll to increase as the scope of destruction becomes clear. At least 185 people were injured during the blazes that started Sunday night. Nearly 200 people were reported missing in Sonoma County alone.

Seventeen wildfires raged across parts of seven counties on Sunday night. They all started almost simultaneously and then exploded; their cause is still unknown.

The blazes knocked out all electricity, damaged or destroyed 77 cellular sites and disrupted communication services.

Some of the largest blazes in Northern California were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. The fires sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles (96 kilometres) away. Much of the damage was in Santa Rosa, home to 175,000 people, and a far larger and more developed city than usually finds itself at the mercy of a wildfire.

It is unusual for so many fires to go up at the same time. Other than the windy conditions that helped drive them all, there was no known connection between the blazes, and authorities have not cited a cause for any of them. The efforts to fight the several fires are still on, as photos of the disaster paint the picture of a post-apocalyptic world.

(With inputs from AP)

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