According to multiple media reports, state fire authority Cal Fire confirmed that two had died in the Atlas fire in Napa County, which burned across 25,000 acres of the famous wine-producing region.
"We have a subscription service where we can alert our residents, and we did that right away, trying to notify everybody where the fire was, where it was going and how fast it was going, and I think it saved a lot of lives", Crum said.
Much of the damage was in California's wine country north of San Francisco.
"The fact that we've been able to save as many [homes] as we have is remarkable", said Daron Wyatt, with Anaheim Fire and Rescue.
Much of the damage was in Santa Rosa, a city home to 175,000 people.
Some 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since Sunday, officials said, while CNN reported that more than 100 people had been treated for fire-related injuries, including burns and smoke inhalation.
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Nine of the deaths have been in Sonoma County.
In Southern California, most evacuation orders have been lifted as firefighters successfully battle a wildfire that destroyed 14 buildings, majority homes.
- 11 people have been found dead in Tubbs Fire burn areas and all but one have been recovered, Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Tuesday evening.
Sonoma County Winegrowers estimated that 90 per cent of the county's crop has already been harvested, but there were still wine grapes that were scheduled to be picked in the next 10 days, said Karissa Kruse, president of the group.
"At this time, we simply do not know how many evacuees we have, we do not know how many structures have been effected", said California Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry at a briefing by Napa County officials Tuesday.
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Napa and Sonoma as well as fire-struck Yuba County. The smaller Nuns Fire, in Sonoma, was at 5,000 acres by about midday, officials said. High-end wines are driving demand growth in the USA, and bottles priced at more than $US10 are having the biggest gains, Mr Rannekleiv said. They recalled all the possessions they had left behind and were lost.
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Residents who gathered at emergency shelters and grocery stores said they were shocked by the speed and ferocity of the flames. He said he drove through flames in his pickup truck with hopes of saving his home.
Some vintners didn't have details about damage because they'd been evacuated and couldn't yet return to their properties, Mr Rannekleiv said.
Forest fires are common in the western United States during dry, hot summer months.
"They said, 'We have so many other places to go, you have to wait.' And then when they came, they had only a couple of guys", he told the station.
"The night before this, we had 60 miles per hour winds, which is the reason why you have such devastation here", Crum said.
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