>> Wildfires sweeping through Northern California's wine country Wednesday, with strong dry winds expected to pick up later in the day and further fan an inferno that's already left at least 21 people dead and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.>> These fires were driven by the critically dry fuel bed.
We are still impacted by five years of drought and we literally looking at explosive vegetation.>> That's the way it is. With a warming climate, and dry weather, and reducing moisture, these kind of catastrophes have happened. And they'll continue to happen. And we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.
>> The fires hitting Santa Rosa and Sonoma country, the wine country's largest city particularly hard. Reuters photographer Stephen Lam is on the ground.>> He just came back to the aerial flight over some of the neighborhoods in Santa Rosa and to see the scale of the devastation. We can see blocks after blocks of houses were being destroyed.
There were cars that were melted to the ground and so forth. And now the wind here in Santa Rosa has picked up dramatically. And we were just told neighborhoods in Sonoma are evacuated as well as Calistoga.>> Early Wednesday more evacuations were ordered in the region and over 4,000 people are living out of the shelters now.
Around 8,000 firefighters are on the scene battling the flames. Investigators are still determining what caused the fires but one official saying in some cases, strong winds might have toppled power poles and sparked flames.