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Northern California Wildfire Victims (2017)

Getty Images / George Rose

Northern California Wildfire Victims (2017)

Major wildfires have killed at least 43 people in California wine country, according to multiple news sources. 

The fires have destroyed many homes and thousands of people have been forced to flee the area. 

Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency in eight counties, including Napa and Sonoma in the heart of wine country, as at least 15 new fires were active across the northern half of the state. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office confirmed late Monday afternoon that seven people had been killed in fire-related incidents. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed that two people had been killed in Napa County and that one had been killed in Mendocino County. 

Authorities said that many other people had been injured and that an undetermined number of others was missing. 

The wildfires are being fueled by Santa Ana winds. 

The San Francisco Chronicle ( reported Tuesday that the first victims identified in Napa were an elderly couple:

Charles and Sara Rippey, 100 and 98, were found dead inside their condominium in the 100 block of Westgate Drive at the Silvarado Country Club… Both people suffered medical problems that made evacuation impossible, Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said following a press conference at the county command center Tuesday.

The latest death is that of 17-year-old Kressa Shepherd, who died October 29. The Mendocino county teenager, who had been badly burned three weeks ago, was declared brain dead and taken off life support. Her brother Kai, 14, died in the fire. Their parents remain hospitalized.

We invite you to share condolences for the Northern California Wildfire Victims in our Guest Book.

Originally published Oct. 9, 2017