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The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1,700 firefighters are battling 26 major wildfires across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 3.9 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

A building and vineyard in Calistoga damaged by the Glass Fire on Sept. 30. Smoke from this blaze has resulted some of the worst air quality in the world from this community to San Francisco, some 86 miles away. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The Glass Fire in Napa County burns on a mountainside with the Beckstoffer Vinyards in the foreground in St. Helena Sept. 28. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Homeowner Tom Smith walks away from the wildfire near his home on Platina Road in Igo on Sept. 27, after the Zogg Fire that killed the three people went from 400 acres to 7,000 acres in a matter of hours. Photo: Allison dinner and Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images
The Shady Fire quickly spreading over the mountains while closing in on Santa Rosa, on Sept. 28. Its flames have damaged or razed "hundreds of homes, businesses, resorts and wineries," per CBS. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images
PG&E crews work to clear downed power lines along Silverado Trail Sept.29 as the wildfire burns east of Calistoga. The energy provider cut power to 3,100 more customers in Napa County at firefighters' request, per the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Photo: Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
The remains of a warehouse at the Castello di Amorosa winery on Sept. 29, razed by the Glass Fire in Napa Valley. Fires are burning across parts of the wine country that have "had no fire history going back 70 years," the Los Angeles Times notes. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images
A local man wets down hot spots near a home in Calistoga on Sept. 29, when all 5,000 residents of the entire town have been ordered to evacuate. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest details from the fires.

Go deeper

Sen. Jeff Merkley says rioters stole laptop, left "trail of destruction"

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted a video on Wednesday showing the pro-Trump mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol left "a trail of destruction" in his office.

The state of play: Merkley said the rioters stole a laptop, and the video showed the office littered with debris, cabinets removed from their casing, objects and chairs strewn across the floor, and cigarette butts left in various places. The door to the office was taken off its hinges.

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.