In northern California, the winds were forecast to pick back up Wednesday, and there was no rain in sight. That could make things worse for the 8,000 firefighters trying to get a handle on the state's wildfires and that tens of thousands of people who were ordered to evacuate their homes.
There are more than 12 fires burning in the northern part of the state. At one point, they were scorching the equivalent of a football field every three seconds.
Part of the reason why this has been so hard to control are wind gusts of up to 79 miles per hour. That's hurricane force, and they're able to blow burning embers across the landscape, which helps the fire spread.
At least 21 people have died and more than 170,000 acres have been burned so far. These are not the most destructive wildfires the state has ever seen, at least not at this point, but they are among the deadliest.
The sheriff of Sonoma County, which is just north of San Francisco, has told residents to go ahead and leave if they have somewhere else to say, even if they haven't been ordered to evacuate yet. Some people have had only minutes to get their families together and leave their homes. And for some of those who have gone, there is nothing left to come back to.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is just utter devastation. In fact, more than 8,000 people live in this neighborhood. That won't happen any longer because you can see the devastation that's left here. It looks like a warzone. All the homes in this neighborhood are gone, burned to a crisp.
But if you look back here, the only thing we've been able to make out is the washer and dryer that's in the back of this home where maybe the laundry room was, and this repeats itself over and over again.
And then you think about that video that we've been showing time and time again, when you see the flames that were everywhere. This was a fast-moving fire, with hurricane force like winds that was just moving through the area. Twenty thousand people have had to evacuate so far, 183 people are still missing. They're telling us they don't believe all of the people are dead because the communications in this area has been so spotty. So, what they're hoping is some of these people will turn up in those evacuation centers when they tried to flee this area.