SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):
A family member says an elderly couple that died in a Northern California fire was together since grade school and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last year.
Mike Rippey said Tuesday his 100-year-old father, Charles, and 98-year-old mother, Sara, grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and went to college in the state together.
They settled in Napa after Mike Rippey said he moved to the region about 45 years ago.
Rippey said his mother didn’t move well, and his parents were unable to get out before the blaze destroyed their home. His brother found their bodies on Monday.
The sheriff of a Northern California county where at least nine people have been killed by a raging wildfire says officials have yet to search through the devastation.
Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano says his office is starting to organize search teams. But they have yet to inspect the affected areas because there are still hotspots.
Giordano says the massive blaze is still very active in the Sonoma Valley and in the southern part of the county.
Santa Rosa Police said Tuesday afternoon that a new blaze that started Monday night is quickly approaching Oakmont, a Santa Rosa neighborhood.
Worried vintners in Northern California’s wine country continue to determine the extent of damage to vineyards and wineries after wildfires swept through Napa and Sonoma counties.
The Napa Valley Vintners trade association reported that at least four wineries belonging to members suffered “total or very significant losses.” It also reported at least nine others reported damage to wineries or surrounding vineyards.
The organization emphasized that it had not heard from all members, especially those in the most vulnerable parts of the valley.
The oldest family-run winery in California survived Monday night. But operators were anxious to assess some crops.
The trade group said 90 percent of grapes had already been picked, with most of the remaining crop thick-skinned cabernet sauvignon grapes not expected to be effected by the smoke.
California’s two senators are calling on the White House to speed up the availability of federal aid to California counties affected by wildfires that led to the deaths of at least 15 people.
Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein said they support California Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration and asked President Donald Trump to “expedite the damage assessment reviews necessary to make federal assistance available … as soon as possible.”
The senators said damage is especially bad in the counties of Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Mendocino, Sonoma and Yuba.
Trump approved the request. He said he spoke with Brown on Monday night to “let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need.”
The California National Guard has been tasked with bringing fuel to first responders battling the flames in Northern California because so many gas stations are without power.
Officials say trucks are bringing fuel into inaccessible areas and helping fuel emergency vehicles directly from the trucks. The utility companies, meanwhile, have representatives stationed at the state’s emergency operations headquarters in Sacramento working to get power back up and running.
Emergency operations director Mark Ghilarducci says several thousand people in Napa and Sonoma counties are still without power. Seventy-seven cellular sites were damaged or destroyed, also disrupting communication.
Major General David Baldwin of the California National Guard says 242 soldiers and airmen are assisting in responding to the fires in the two counties.
President Donald Trump says the federal government will be there for the people of California as devastating wildfires rage through the state’s famed wine country.
Trump says he spoke with Gov. Jerry Brown Monday night to “let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need.”
At least 15 people have died and at least 2,000 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed by the wildfires in Northern California.
Authorities in Southern California say at least 14 structures have been destroyed and another 22 damaged in a wind-driven brush fire in northeastern Orange County.
Orange County Fire Capt. Larry Kurtz said Tuesday that the fire was 25 percent contained but some 5,000 structures were still threatened and evacuation orders remained in place for thousands of residents.
A CalFire division chief told reporters that firefighters have turned their focus to the eastern portion of the blaze as the winds were starting to shift direction.
He says authorities hope to let some Orange County residents return home late Tuesday.
He says they are developing contingency plans for communities east of the fire…