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Weather & Natural Disasters

Northern California wildfires: A region reduced to ashes

In this aerial view, a burned neighborhood is seen in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Firefighters in Northern California have finally started to gain ground over the wildfires that have swept across Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties. At least 40 people have died, making this the deadliest wildfire in the state's history. With several people still reported missing, search and rescue teams have begun the grim task of sifting through charred ruins in search of human remains.

Fires destroyed more than 5,700 homes and businesses, with entire neighborhoods reduced to ashes. Thousands of displaced residents are slowly returning to the places where their homes once stood to sift through the ashes.

Fires also scorched several vineyards, devastating one of the region's key industries for years to come.

The following are just some of the harrowing scenes from these catastrophic wildfires.

Santa Rosa in ruins

Firefighters walk through the Fountaingrove neighborhood on October 13, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
Getty Images

Firefighters walk through the Fountaingrove neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California.

In need of comfort

Charlie and Kate Higgins embrace in front of their burned home in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Charlie and Kate Higgins embrace in front of their burned home in Santa Rosa.

The Tubbs Fire

The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire are seen near Fountaingrove Parkway on October 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California
David McNew | Getty Images

The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire are seen near Fountaingrove Parkway in Santa Rosa.

Search and rescue

Search and Rescue personnel look for human remains in the Journey's End Mobile Home park following the damage caused by the Tubbs Fire on October 13, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images

Search and rescue personnel look for human remains in the Journey's End Mobile Home Park following the damage caused by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa.

Search for the missing

A search and rescue team searches for bodies in Santa Rosa, California on October 12, 2017 after the Tubbs Fire caused devastation.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

A search and rescue team searches for bodies at a property where a person was reported missing in Santa Rosa.

Aerial view

Residences, right, burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Residences, right, burned by wildfires are seen in this aerial photograph of Santa Rosa.

Displaced

A Red Cross volunteer helps people displaced by wildfires at an evacuation center in Santa Rosa, California, October 11, 2017.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

A Red Cross volunteer helps people displaced by wildfires at an evacuation center in Santa Rosa.

Salvaging property

A firefighter hands a safe to Julian and Lisa Corwin in the Fountaingrove neighborhood on October 13, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
Getty Images

A firefighter hands a safe to Julian and Lisa Corwin in the Fountaingrove neighborhood in Santa Rosa.

Sifting through debris

Ed Curzon, right, and his daughter Margaret sift debris to salvage anything they can from the rubble of their home, destroyed by a wildfire in the Coffey Park neighborhood Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. "My parents and my dogs are alive. That's all that matters," said Margaret.
Jae C. Hong | AP

Ed Curzon, right, and his daughter Margaret sift debris to salvage anything they can from the rubble of their home, destroyed by a wildfire in the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. "My parents and my dogs are alive. That's all that matters," Margaret Curzon said.

A glimmer of hope

Margaret Curzon shows her mother Karen a ceramic figurine salvaged from her childhood home in the Coffey Park neighborhood on October 15, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. Her parents escaped with their pets, but lost their home.
Elijah Nouvelage | Getty Images

Margaret Curzon shows her mother, Karen, a ceramic figurine salvaged from her childhood home in Santa Rosa.

Impact on an industry

Winemaker Pierre Birebent inspects a melted wine bottle among the burned out remains of the Signorello Estate Winery in Napa, California on October 11, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Winemaker Pierre Birebent inspects a melted wine bottle among the burned-out remains of the Signorello Estate Winery in Napa.

A vineyard under threat

Flames rise behind Ledson Winery on October 14, 2017 in Kenwood, near Santa Rosa, California.
David McNew | Getty Images

Flames rise behind Ledson Winery in Kenwood, near Santa Rosa.

Power restored

Pacific Gas and Electric Company crews work to restore power near fire-damaged Cardinal Newman High School on October 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.
David McNew | Getty Images

Pacific Gas and Electric Company crews work to restore power near fire-damaged Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa.

Line of defense

Firefighters work to defend homes from an approaching wildfire in Sonoma, California, U.S. October 14, 2017.
Jim Urquhart | Reuters

A firefighter works to defend homes from an approaching wildfire in Sonoma.

Thank you

A sign thanking firefighters is posted on Highway 12 on October 12, 2017 in Sonoma, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

A sign thanking firefighters is posted in Sonoma. More than 11,000 firefighters continue to battle the blazes across the state.