Why were California's wine country fires so destructive?
Firefighters battle a wildfire near Santa Rosa, California, U.S., October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

By Jon Keeley, Research Ecologist, US Geological Survey. Burned area in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. US Department of Defense As of late October more than a dozen wildfires north of San Francisco had killed more than 40 people, burned approximately 160,000 acres and destroyed more than 7,000 structures.