SONOMA, Calif. — The Latest on California’s wildfires (all times local):
The Mendocino County Sheriff Department says people in some parts of the county can start returning to their homes around noon as the threat from deadly wildfires eases.
The sheriff’s office said Sunday that safety information and protective equipment will be available for returning residents at controlled entrances.
The office said evacuation orders are being lifted, but residents should be prepared to leave if conditions change.
Tens of thousands of California residents have seen their hopes and plans grossly interrupted by the deadly wildfires.
Santa Rosa Junior College student body president Batel Silimon no longer has homework looming — classes were cancelled all week.
She has bigger problems now: Her family lost their home and they are crowded into a battered recreational vehicle.
Meanwhile, the closing of most businesses has interrupted the simplest of daily routines.
A Napa County supervisor said the area hit hard by wildfires is switching to recovery mode.
Supervisor Belia Ramos said Sunday the county expects no more evacuations.
Other authorities at Napa County’s daily briefing said roads will remain closed until workers can clear them of downed trees and power poles.
A state fire spokesman says it appears firefighters are making good progress on deadly wildfires that started a week ago, devastating wine country and other parts of rural Northern California.
Daniel Berlant, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Sunday that some of the area’s most stubborn fires are more than 50 per cent contained.
Berlant said weather conditions are much better than they were 24 hours ago, and winds expected to kick up overnight did not materialize.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said the county will begin assessing evacuated areas for damage, which is a necessary step for lifting evacuation orders.
The office also said Sunday that county workers will be driving vehicles emblazoned with the county seal and all assessment workers with have IDs.
Looting has been a serious worry among residents since wildfires broke out a week ago.
On Saturday, the sheriff’s office reported it had arrested two men and one woman suspected of “cruising” the Boyes Hot Springs area of Sonoma.
They fled in fear nearly a week ago. Now they’re ready to go back.
While wildfires are still burning powerfully in parts of Northern California, some of the tens of thousands of evacuees are getting antsy to return to homes that aren’t under immediate threat. Others want to see if they still have homes to return to.
But authorities are staying cautious in the face of blazes that have now killed at least 30 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes.
Although some evacuees were returning home in Mendocino County, the latest estimates were that about 100,000 people were under evacuation orders as the fires burned for a sixth day.
Follow the AP’s complete wildfire coverage here: https://apnews.com/tag/Wildfires .