California: Death toll reaches 23 due to massive wildfires

San Francisco: The death toll has reached 23 and over 600 have been missing due to the gush of massive fires in northern California, police said.

Firefighters struggled to stop the wildfires from spreading throughout the night, 5000 people of a Napa Valley community left their houses on Wednesday, reports Hindustan Times.

Of all those who died so far, 13 were killed in the Tubbs wildfire in Sonoma, officials said.

The cause of these fires is however concretely uncertain. But they are thought to have been sparked by power lines, which were collapsed by cyclonic winds, and fanned by hot dry winds that blew into northern California toward the Pacific.

“The winds are predicted to be very erratic,” said country spokesman Barry Dugan. “There will be a burst of high gusts that can be … very unpredictable and difficult when you are fighting a fire and also for residents who we are trying to keep posted,” he added.

More than 285 people were still missing in Sonoma County late on Wednesday night, the sheriff said on Twitter. The fires were started on Sunday night, and have burned around 170,000 acres so far, CNN reported.