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At least one person is dead and two have been seriously injured in fires in Northern California.

The death and injuries occurred in Mendocino County, one of several counties fighting against 14 major fires that are burning out of control.

The fires have burned through more than 73,000 acres and destroyed at least 1,500 homes and businesses in eight counties, including Napa, Sonoma and Yuba.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection director Ken Pimlott had earlier said that there would likely be fatalities.

There were mandatory evacuations for up to 20,000 people late on Sunday but some residents found that escape roads were blocked by downed trees and flames.

Mr Pimlott said: “Imagine a wind-whipped fire burning at explosive rates.

“This is 50 miles per hour.

“Literally it’s burning into the city of Santa Rosa … burning box stores.

“This is traditionally California’s worst time for fires, California’s most damaging times for fires have occurred in October.”

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California wine region ravaged by fast-spreading wildfires