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At least 15 people are dead and more than 200 have been reported missing as explosive, wind-whipped wildfires rage through Northern California's famed wine country, forcing fire crews to race to get the massive blazes under control, AP reported.

The wildfires destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses. Hundreds more firefighters joined the battle against the blazes, which were still completely uncontained.

A thick, smoky haze cloaked much of Napa and Sonoma counties, where neighborhoods hit by the fires were leveled. In the Santa Rosa suburb known as Coffey Park, house after house was gone, with only brick chimneys still standing. The flames burned so hot that windows and tire rims melted off cars, leaving many parked vehicles sitting on their steel axles. The only recognizable remnants at many homes were charred washing machines and dryers.

Authorities hoped cooler weather and lighter winds would help crews get a handle on 17 separate fires, which are among the deadliest in California history.

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