Effects of devastating wildfires felt here in Atlanta

Learn the science behind wildfires and how they start with 11Alive meteorologist and professor Chesley McNeil.

ATLANTA -- Devastation grows as more than a dozen wildfires rage across Northern California.

At least 15 people are now confirmed dead and more than 2,000 homes and buildings destroyed as the fire tore through 115,000 acres. That's nearly two-and-a-half times the size of Washington, D.C.

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But the effects of the fire are far reaching, even here in Atlanta. Terri Miller has family here in Atlanta and is one of the many California residents who evacuated her home in Sonoma to seek shelter elsewhere.

"It's out of my hands. There's nothing that I can do," she said. "The only thing I could do was what I thought was the smartest thing, which was to protect my safety and my dog's safety and to grab whatever few things mattered most to me." 

ALSO | Neighborhoods swallowed by flames as death toll rises in Calif. wildfires

11Alive's Chris Hopper spoke to Miller over FaceTime, who told him that her home is still there for now, but neighbors who stayed behind told her the smoke is so thick that they're being forced out of their homes, too.

"It's just a devastating situation right now," Miller said. "The loss is just kind of insurmountable. I know a number of people who have lost their homes and businesses."

But it's not just Terri Miller and her family tied to Atlanta. 

John Forbes just moved to the city a few days ago. His niece, her partner and their young son lived in Napa and he said they barely got out alive. They lost their home, their belongings -- all they have left are the clothes on their backs.

"I think about my great nephew Alexio, who is six, trying to explain to a little kid, not only fleeing fire like that, but to wake up the next morning and realize everything you own is gone,” Forbes said.

The fires are being fueled by dry grass and brush and wind gusts that reached up to 80 mph. While conditions improved some on Tuesday, some communities remain threatened.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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