Death toll from northern California wildfires updated to at least ten people
A firefighting helicopter drops water to help save a home during a wind driven wildfire in Orange, California, U.S., October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

At least 10 people have died in a spate of wildfires fanned by strong winds through northern California's wine country, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Monday.

Some 15 fires raging largely unchecked across eight northern California counties, including the state's primary wine-making regions in Napa and Sonoma counties, have also destroyed some 1,500 homes and businesses and forced the evacuation of an estimated 20,000 people, authorities said.

(Reporting by Marc Vartabedian in Santa Rosa, Calif. Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Diane Craft)