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California wildfires death toll now 31; home of ‘Peanuts’ creator destroyed

A firefighters douses flames as a home burns in the Napa wine region of California on October 9, 2017, as multiple wind-driven fires continue to whip through the region. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – Northern California’s wildfires have now killed 31 people – making this the deadliest week of wildfires in state history.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said Thursday night that two more people have been confirmed dead there. That raises the statewide death total from 29 to 31.

The Oakland Hills fire of 1991 killed 25 people by itself, and the Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles in 1933 killed 29.

While no single fire currently burning has killed as many as those, state fire Deputy Director Daniel Berlant says collectively this is the deadliest series of simultaneous fires in the state in recorded history.

The blazes, most of them in wine country, broke out almost all at once on Sunday night.

The wildfires have claimed the home of `Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz but his widow has escaped the flames.

Schulz’s son, Monte Schulz, says a fire on Monday torched the Santa Rosa homes of his stepmother, 78-year-old Jean Schulz, and his brother, Craig Schulz.  She’s staying with other relatives.

Schulz says he’s been told the home where his famous cartoonist father died and all the memorabilia in it are gone.  However, most of his father’s original artwork is in the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, and so far that’s escaped the flames.