Progress Made in Northern California Wildfire
Fully 17 large fires were still burning across Northern California, with more than 9,000 firefighters attacking the flames.
“The emergency is not over, and we continue to work at it, but we are seeing some great progress,” said the state’s emergency operations director, Mark Ghilarducci.
Over the past 24 hrs, crews arrived from Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona.
Other teams came from as far away as Canada and Australia.
Since igniting Sunday in spots across 8ht counties, the blazes have killed 32 people, destroyed at least 3,500 homes and businesses and reduced entire neighborhoods to ash.
The death toll is expected to keep rising.
Individual fires including the Oakland Hills blaze of Y 1991 killed more people than any one of the current blazes, but no collection of simultaneous fires in California ever led to so many deaths.
Dozens of search-and-rescue personnel at a mobile home park in Santa Rosa carried out the grim task Friday of searching for the remains of residents who did not escape in time.
Fire tore through Santa Rosa early Monday, leaving only a brief window for people to flee.
Officers recovered bone fragments from one person Friday morning and there was a “high probability” they will find more, Sonoma County Sheriff’s department spokesman said.
2 of the largest fires in Napa and Sonoma counties were at least 25% contained Friday, which marked “significant progress,” said the Chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
However, he cautioned that crews would face more gusty winds, low humidity and higher temperatures. Those conditions were expected to take hold later Friday and persist into the weekend.
Smoke from the blazes hung thick over the grape-growing region and drifted south to the San Francisco Bay Area. Face masks were becoming a regular accessory, and sunsets turned blood-red from the haze.
Fire officials were investigating whether downed power lines or other utility failures could have sparked the fires, but they say they are far from determining how the blazes began.