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California wildfires claim at least 26 lives, expected to burn ‘erratically’ through the weekend

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Heavy smoke rises over the mountains near Yountville, Calif. Wednesday, October 11, 2017 as the Tubbs Fire encroaches on the area. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
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At least 26 people have died in California as wildfires continue to grow in counties including Napa, Sonoma and Solano in the North Bay, Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said Thursday.

The fires have burned 191,431 acres since Sunday night, Pimlott said at a morning news conference.

SEE RELATED: Smoke from North Bay wildfires reportedly triggers Muni delays

The Tubbs Fire that burned Santa Rosa has claimed 34,270 acres and is now 10 percent contained, while the Atlas Fire in Napa County has spread to Solano County and burned 43,762 acres.

The Atlas Fire is only 3 percent contained and “very active,” Pimlott said.

“We are not out of this emergency, we’re not even close to being out of this emergency,” Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said at the news conference.

SEE RELATED: Northern California wildfires rage through Wednesday, killing at least 23 people

Pimlott said the death toll rose to 26 after two more deaths were reported in Mendocino County in Northern California.

Pimlott said fire officials are paying close attention to the areas of Calistoga, Sonoma, Middletown and Geyserville. Residents should be on alert for evacuation orders.

Critical dry humidity and windy conditions are expected in Northern California as well as Santa Barbara through Ventura County and Los Angeles County through the weekend, Pimlott said.

“Our fires are going to continue to burn erratically and in any direction,” Pimlott said.

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