California's fire chief says the wildfires will get worse before they get better

Entire cities have been evacuated, and the death toll continues to grow.
3:07 | 10/12/17

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Transcript for California's fire chief says the wildfires will get worse before they get better
And now, to the devastating and deadly wildfires in California. California's fire chief tonight warning it is going to get worse before it gets better. Fierce fires burning in the hills of napa county. Strong winds ramping up today. The entire city of calistoga, 5,000 people, ordered to evacuate. You can see there the lines of traffic on the one road out. And now comes word, two fires have combined as one. ABC's Linzie Janis is in Santa Rosa. Reporter: Tonight, dc-10s, and this 747 supertanker, part of the all-out effort to contain what could become the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. We are not out of this emergency. We're not even close to being out of this emergency. Reporter: This team from San Francisco in a hand-to-hand, house-to-house battle. On the font lines, firefighters dealing with rough terrain. The fuels are very, very dry. Reporter: More than two dozen now dead. Hundreds missing. Authorities now using cadaver D dogs to find victims. We have found bodies that were almost completely intact. And we have found Bolds that were nothing more than ash and bones. Reporter: Winds gusting to 45 miles an hour could erase any progress they hope to make against fires that have already burned more than 250 square miles. A number of these fires as they grow are actually growing together. Reporter: Entire cities evacuated. In calistoga, police going door-to-door and patrolling streets. Roads choked with cars. Folks are being smart, get out while you can. Reporter: In sonoma, a race to pack up. I built 30 years in my business, and I'm not letting a fire take it. Just going to clear everything out, as much as we can. Reporter: And tonight, new questions about how authorities warned residents about the fires. Local authorities have a responsibility of pushing out messaging for evacuation orders. Reporter: Sonoma county reportedly considered, but did not use the wireless emergency alert system, because it worried it could create panic and hinder rescuers. And Linzie Janis is live from Santa Rosa. You told us that staggering number. 3,500 homes and businesses destroyed by this fire, and you're by where a school once stood? Reporter: That's right, David. This was a catholic high school. The mangled metal you see there, school desks. Of those 3,500 structures you mentioned destroyed by these fires, more than 2,800 of them, right here in Santa Rosa. Just incredible devastation. David? Linzie, thank you. Let's get right to rob. The fire chief said this could get worse before it gets better there. Looking at the winds, rob. Reporter: 18 hours of relative calm tonight for them to try to get things under control. But red flag warnings, look at that. And the fire weather watch for a huge chunk of California. Especially southern California, where tomorrow, conditions will be critical. Offshore winds will pick up tomorrows right through Saturday. Humidity levels are going to be dropping. This weekend will be difficult again, David. All right, rob Marciano, thank you. Next tonight, president

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