A rare set of weather conditions have turned California's wine region into a hellish scene of fire and fury, with the state rushing to get ahead of the blaze and claw back some control. Residents are losing vineyards, family homes, and whole streets as the unpredictable nature of the fire causes a huge swathe of destruction over an astonishingly vast area of land. It's The Worst fire the region has ever suffered, and evacuations have begun.

A path of destruction

Fifteen separate fires are burning across an area of over 70,000 acres (109 sq.miles) and they're moving with unimaginable speed and tenacity, mostly due to the unusual combination of weather factors as 50mph gales are blowing across bone dry land.

It's been declared a state of emergency by Gov. Jerry Brown, and a series of mass evacuations have begun, set to remove 20,000 residents from their homes. There have been ten confirmed deaths so far (7 in Sonoma, 2 in Napa, and 1 in Mendocino Valley) yet these are expected to rise; with the sheer amount of burnt out buildings and communities reduced to rubble, it seems like a logical prediction to make.

Two residents are in hospital with severe injuries, and over 100 have been admitted across the state as suffering from the symptoms of smoke inhalation, shock, or fire-related injury, as firefighters continue to battle against the blaze.

Fighting fury

Amid reports of obstructed escape paths and ruptured gas lines, firefighters are battling to "get ahead" of the blaze, emphasising just how quickly the fires are moving; resources are already strained, with only one of the 15 fires covering 2000 acres and requiring a crew of 200 firefighters to try and subdue the flames.

Some vineyard workers have even needed to be collected by helicopter and taken to safety, and many have watched their businesses be swallowed into the inferno, helpless and shocked. According to some reports, the unmistakable stench of smoke can be experienced all the way from the streets of San Francisco and seen from 60 miles away.

Although set to rise as the fire continues to burn, there have been suggestions that 2/3 of the grape harvest will have been lost; this won't be welcome news for business owners and residents, but as one source stated: "It's not about the grapes, it's about the people". They are simply thankful to be alive.

There is no question that the consequences of these fires could have been much, much worse if it wasn't for the bravery and fast action of those tasked with tackling it; today, winds are meant to drop, meaning they may get the break they need to finally subdue the blaze.