Wildfires have been raging across California over the past few days and the death toll has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still missing. The town of Paradise has been destroyed leaving only ash and debris.

Fire crews are battling the 84,000-acre Woolsey fire but strong winds are causing the blaze to spread at an alarming rate. Two other blazes, one known as Camp Fire and the other affecting the popular beach resort of Malibu have thought to have doubled in size over the weekend.

On Saturday, more than 250,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes. In southern California, homes of the rich and famous have been wrecked by the blaze.

Today, search and rescue teams have been deployed to the areas affected by Camp Fire where more than 6,700 buildings have been incinerated. It is reported more than 90% of the residential area has gone. It is believed only 25% of the fire has been contained. Camp Fire is the most destructive fire in the State’s history.

Woolsey Fire has destroyed over 177 buildings and is only 10% contained. The blaze started near Thousand Oaks and has spread nearer Central Los Angeles and Malibu. Due to strong winds in the area, the Woolsey Fire is expected to continue to spread.

It is not yet known when the fires will be contained but as searches continue across the state the death toll is expected to rise. California has been left in a state of devastation with a huge number of residents now without a home. The fires are quickly becoming the deadliest to hit to the state.

Holidaymakers due to travel to the area should speak to their travel agent or tour operator and follow the necessary procedure for cancelling or re-booking/re-directing their holiday. Those who booked their holiday independently should contact their travel insurer regarding cancellation.

It is important to note most travel insurance policies will not cover cancellation due to wild fires, which in insurance terms would come under ‘force majeure’, unless the policy offers cancellation for any reason which you could not have been expected to foresee or avoid, or if your policy has specific cover for force majeure. There is more information on Force Majeure here.