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At Least 400 Homes Destroyed By New California Fire

Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire on Sunday, near Middletown, Calif. The fast-moving fire has consumed 50,000 acres after growing 40,000 acres in 12 hours.

An unusually fast-moving wildfire in Northern California's Lake and Napa counties has destroyed at least 400 homes since it started Saturday, officials say. The fire is 0 percent contained; it has injured four firefighters, and authorities are investigating reports of a civilian death.

Thousands of people were placed under evacuation orders after strong winds helped the so-called Valley wildfire explode to 50,000 acres in just one day. It's burning in an area about 100 miles north of San Francisco and just below the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest.

Several hundred evacuees in Northern California spent Sunday night at emergency shelters at fairgrounds and other facilities. In Calistoga, Calif., an area resident described the profound loss to Danielle Venton of member station KQED.

"Donna Clevenger is one of the thousands affected and says the loss is mind boggling," Venton reports.

"All that's left of the house is the chimney. It's devastating. It's devastating," Clevenger says. "I'm 56 years old and I've been out on my own since I was 18 and I've accumulated almost 40 years of stuff and it's gone. Overnight."

As the Two-Way reported Sunday, "California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as firefighters in the state's north battle expanding wildfires, intensified by a prolonged drought."

You can follow current fire conditions in California with member station KPCC's Firetracker tool.

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