Blazes destroy at least 3500 homes, businesses

Homeowner Phil Rush is confronted by the remains of his home that was destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa Calif. He says he and his wife and dog escaped with only their medication and a bag of dog food when flames overtook their neighborhood

Nine people have been found dead in Tubbs Fire burn areas and all but one have been recovered, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said Tuesday afternoon. New evacuation orders are also in place for Green Valley in Solano County.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, officials with the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Cal Fire and other agencies reported that 17 fires statewide had burned a combined 115,000 acres and sent 3,200 evacuees to 28 shelters - and that the major fires in Napa and Sonoma were zero percent contained.

The massive complex of blazes has burned 265 square miles since breaking out nearly simultaneously on Sunday night.

Police blocked off many roads and prevented people from going into the destroyed neighborhoods, where some people said they no longer could recognize streets and surroundings.

Authorities said 21 people had died and more than 300 were missing.

Some 5,000 people from the historic town of Calistoga, situated in northern Napa County, were being evacuated. A local subdivision that housed 7,000 people was leveled by fire.

The video below, shot by two guys who woke up outside the perimeter of the fire in Santa Rosa and drove around looking at the destruction, includes footage of a gun store (around the 8:27 mark and after) where bullets were exploding after the building burned to the ground. As the fires grow, officials voiced concern that separate blazes would merge into even larger infernos.

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"A fire starting after 10 o'clock at night, under 50-plus miles per hour winds, under absolutely dry, dry fuel beds, every one of those fires had a fighting chance to get going long before our firefighters could even be able to get there". "So, there will be the possibility of critical fire weather conditions".

Kris Hammar, who lives in the city of Santa Rosa on the edge of a mandatory evacuation zone, had not yet evacuated but was monitoring maps, wind direction, and fire updates to see if she and her family should bolt.

In the hills above Santa Rosa, resident Peter Lang was forced to choose between saving his home or more than 1,000 animals that were trapped at his Safari West wildlife preserve, the Press Democrat newspaper reported.

"I don't know, man, the wrath of God is not very happy", Branch said.

At least 2000 homes have been destroyed. This made it easier for the flames to spread and also knocked down power lines where the fires started. Residents were instructed to use Oakville Grade to get off the mountain.

For all the lesser foliage that flourished earlier this year, many trees didn't revive - they need a lot more moisture - and a bark-beetle infestation left a swath of dried trunks vulnerable to sparks.

"This to me is like a nuclear bomb went off", Larson said near his home.