(CNN)New evacuations were ordered Tuesday evening as more than a dozen wildfires raged across Northern California, with the largest ones killing at least 17 people as they scorched the state’s famous wine country.
The largest of the deadly fires were burning in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, with flames ripping through the lush, picturesque landscape.
Officials in the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County called for the evacuations of five more areas Tuesday evening. Already, 20,000 people had been ordered to leave the area and other parts of Northern California.
It is too early to tell whether any of the wildfires were started by humans, said Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire. “All these fires are under investigation,” he told reporters, adding that his department was focusing on rescues and firefighting. But he said the chance the fires were caused by lightning was “fairly minimal.”
Here’s what we know so far, according to California authorities.
• At least 17 people have died since Sunday night, when most of the fires began. A total of 11 deaths were in Sonoma County, officials said.
• Two of those who died were in Napa County, county spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said. They were 100-year-old Charles Rippey and his wife, Sara, 98. They died when a fire engulfed their home near the Silverado Country Club north of Napa, Jourdan said.
• Wildfires were burning more than 115,000 acres in California as of Tuesday.
• Most of the Northern California firesignited Sunday night, driven by winds of more than 50 mph and dry conditions, Pimlott said Monday.The high winds led to “extreme rates of spread and volatile burning conditions,” according to Cal Fire.
• More than 180 people are missing, but authorities think communications issues are making it impossible for many of those people to check in with family.
Destruction in Santa Rosa
Margaret Curzon said her parents lost almost everything in the wildfire that destroyed their home and the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, a city of about 175,000 roughly 50 miles northwest of San Francisco.
Her mom woke up early Monday morning and smelled smoke, but thought it was the neighbor’s barbecue or chimney, so she went back to sleep. They woke up again because their bichon frise, Brady, was whimpering.
“We are asking people to stay indoors” because of smoke, Alonso said.
There is no rain in the forecast this week, according to the National Weather Service. Winds in the next two days will come out of the north at around 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts of 35 to 40 mph possible, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.
Napa County also had the Atlas fire at 25,000 acres and the Partrick fire at 1,000 acres.
In Sonoma County, firefighters battled the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, the Nuns fire at 5,000 acres and another fire that spread across 2,000 acres.
In Mendocino County, the Redwood Complex fire had burned at least 21,000 acres, as of Tuesday.
Large wildfires often are named for local geographic areas or features.
The Atlas fire destroyed several homes near the Silverado Country Club north of Napa, CNN affiliate KPIX reported, including the house where the Rippeys died.
Also in that area, fire burned the main building of the Signorello Estate Winery to the ground. Broken and charred wine bottles remained on seared metal shelves, video from KPIX showed.
The city of Napa, with about 80,000 residents, was not under evacuation.But parts of it were under a boil-water notice Tuesday, because fires destroyed a pump station near the Silverado resort and rendered a water treatment plant inoperable, the city said. Many in Napa also lost power and cell service, according to the Napa police.
Alison Crowe, the winemaker for Garnet Vineyards & Picket Fence Vineyards in Napa Valley, estimated two-thirds to three-fourths of the grape harvest already had taken place but said some grapes still haven’t been picked. The 2017 harvest will be remembered for this fire, she said.
“Wine doesn’t matter; people matter,” she said Monday. “I know that’s people’s attitude right now.”
Napa and Sonoma counties have the most wineries in California. The economic impact from the wine industry was estimated at $13 billion for each county, according to 2012 and 2014 research done by Stonebridge Research Group.
Fires fueled by wind and dry conditions
Authorities have noted windy and dry conditions Sunday and Monday made it easy for the fires to spread. October is typically the busiest month for wildfires in California, they said.
Complicating firefighting efforts was a shortage of resources, Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said Tuesday.
“We have folks on the fire line starting their third shift right now that have not been relieved,” Biermann said Tuesday, “because there’s folks not available to come in, with so many fires in the area.”
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday issued emergency proclamations for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Solano and Orange counties. Orange County in the south is dealing with a 7,500-acre fire that has destroyed 14 structures, damaged 22 and threatens 5,000 others, Orange County fire Capt. Larry Kurtz said.
Pictures from Disneyland in Anaheim on Tuesday afternoon showed the sky with an orange glow.