The death toll from wildfires that have scorched the wine country of Northern California rose to at least 23 people Wednesday night with 285 people still missing. Firefighters have been working to contain the blaze that has burned through more than 100,000 acres of land, destroying popular wineries, homes, and businesses. 

“Now the winds are going back up and the humidity is going back down,” Heather Williams, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, said. “We’re still not out of the woods. It’s a very serious situation.”

Thousands of people were evacuated as 23 major wildfires burned in California. All residents of Calistoga and Geyserville were ordered to leave their homes, while mandatory evacuations were issued for parts of eastern Sonoma Valley, including Castle Road and 7th Street East north of Lovall Valley Road.

California Wildfires Firefighters protect a vineyard in Santa Rosa, California, as the toll from Northern California wildfires continues to grow Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Napa city officials issued evacuation advisories for neighborhoods along the eastern edges of the city.

“The fire is not an imminent threat, but the conditions may change quickly,” police said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In Sonoma County alone, 25,000 people have been evacuated, county spokesman Scott Alonso said late Wednesday. Power remained out at 40,000 homes across the county.

"I'm optimistic that we will get a lot of people connected," Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said. "At the same time, we have to be realistic and start searching for the ones we found are missing."

The huge utility company PG&E acknowledged reports that the extreme winds late Sunday and early Monday had knocked trees into power lines that resulted in the wildfires.

“The historic wind event that swept across PG&E’s service area late Sunday and early Monday packed hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75 mph in some cases,” Ari Vanrenen, a PG&E spokeswoman, said in a statement released after the San Jose Mercury News first reported on a possible link between the wildfires and the power grid.

“These destructive winds, along with millions of trees weakened by years of drought and recent renewed vegetation growth from winter storms, all contributed to some trees, branches, and debris impacting our electric lines across the North Bay,” she said.

California Wildfire Ben Pederson (R) looks for salvageable items in the remains of his family's home was destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

California Wildfire The family-owned winery, Signorello Estate, on Napa's Silverado Trail is left in ruins by the Atlas Fire on Oct. 11, 2017 near Napa, California. Photo: Getty Images

Statewide, 8,000 firefighters are working to contain the wildfires, which have worst hit the Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, where 4,500 homes and businesses had been burned at last count. The equipment being used includes 550 fire trucks — at least 170 of which came from out of state — 73 helicopters and more than 30 planes.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Ken Pimlott said that Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington have sent firefighters and the U.S. Forest Service has sent fire engines, bulldozers, and hand crews.

California Gov. Jerry Brown warned Wednesday that catastrophic wildfires will keep ripping through the state as the climate warms and the winds keep blowing. 

California Wildfire Cars destroyed by wildfires are seen in Santa Rosa, California, on Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Getty Images California Wildfire Homes destroyed by wildfires are seen in Santa Rosa, California, on Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Getty Images