NBC - At least 15 people are dead and 150 more remain missing after several rapidly spreading wildfires swept through California Monday.

At least 20 fires were reported across California, where thousands were evacuated from their homes. An estimated 115,000 acres were scorched in just 36 hours.

Most of the fires began early Monday morning as powerful winds roared into the state, whipping up 70 mile an hour gusts.

"This is at night, people were asleep, they were awoken and they ran for their lives," said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McClean.

Some 2,000 homes and buildings were destroyed across California's famous wine country.

The California Highway Patrol used helicopters to rescue dozens of people trapped in their cars by the flames as they tried to escape.

"The wind was so strong and so noisy, and the people were driving crazy to try to get out," said Jose Vigil, who lost his home to the flames.

Crews are hoping calmer winds Tuesday will with their efforts to contain the fires.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/2grnz3E