Deadly and vast California wildfires could gain momentum

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires already well on their way to becoming the deadliest in California history show no signs of slowing down.

Steady winds of up to 30 mph and gusts up to 45 mph with humidity plunging near zero are expected to descend on the areas north of San Francisco where at least 23 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed.

State fire Chief Ken Pimlott said Wednesday that the situation is “going to continue to get worse before it gets better.”

Whole cities turned to ghost towns after they were evacuated. They included Calistoga, the wine-country resort city of more than 5,000 people, all of them under evacuation orders.