The Latest: California fire evacuees allowed to return home
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
Northern California residents who fled a wildfire in the dead of night with only minutes to spare returned to their neighborhoods Friday for the first time in nearly two weeks to see if anything was standing.
Many found little more than charred ruins.
Authorities said 8,400 homes and businesses have been destroyed as they continue to assess the devastating damage to California’s wine country.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berland says inspectors are now getting to homes previously hard to access because of the fires.
Three neighborhoods in Santa Rosa were among the hardest hit urban areas in California’s wine countries. Residents of those neighborhoods found blocks upon blocks of charred ruins.
The number of buildings destroyed by this month’s California’s wildfires has been boosted again, to 8,400 from 7,700.
That’s up from nearly 7,000 homes and other structures that were reported destroyed a day earlier by the fires that hit wine country and other areas north of San Francisco.
The number of buildings razed was increased as crews inspected damage in hard hit areas.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said assessment is nearly done, but the number will rise as the workers get to areas that have been difficult for them to reach
The wildfires broke out Oct. 8 in a large area north of San Francisco in and around the state’s famed wine country.
California’s insurance commissioner said preliminary estimates of wildfire losses that started Oct. 8 exceed $1 billion and that the figure is expected to rise. The fires killed 42.
California officials have increased their count of buildings destroyed by this month’s wildfires to 7,700.
The new figure provided Friday is up from nearly 7,000 on Thursday.
The number has gone up as crews assess damage from the series of fires that broke out on Oct. 8 in a large area north of San Francisco in and around the state’s famed wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties.
The fires killed 42 people and one in Sonoma County killed 22 of them, making it the third deadliest fire in California’s history.
California’s insurance commissioner said preliminary estimates of wildfire losses exceed $1 billion and that the figure is expected to rise.
Three neighborhoods hit hard by wildfires in Northern California will re-open Friday to anxious evacuees who haven’t been back to their homes in nearly two weeks.
Santa Rosa Police Chief Hank Schreeder said the neighborhoods will open to residents with ID starting at 10 a.m.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports he made the announcement Thursday at a packed community meeting attended by 750 people. The meeting opened with a moment of silence for the 42 people killed by a devastating series of wildfires that started Oct. 8.
But some at the meeting were upset by what they called a lack of notice.
Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner said one of the fires, which killed 22, started in Napa County and raced into Santa Rosa in four hours.
Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com