Residents Allowed to Return to Fire-Ravaged Coffey Park and Two Mobile Home Parks in Santa Rosa

Tubbs Fire is now the most destructive in California's history, Calfire said Friday, with 36,432 acres burned, 5,300 structures destroyed and 22 deaths so far

After rain doused the North Bay overnight, helping in the battle against several blazes, some Santa Rosa fire victims woke to the good news that they will be allowed to return to their homes Friday.

People who lived in the now devastated communities of Coffey Park, Orchard Park and Journey's End will be granted entry between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. However, there are restrictions.

The area will be heavily staffed by law enforcement officers and residents must provide proof of identification, which will be used to generate entry passes.

In a statement issued early Friday, Santa Rosa officials said, "This controlled entry is designed to allow only residents into their neighborhood, so they have protected time to assess and grieve."

Police warned of a build-up of traffic in the area as residents try to get into their neighborhoods. Other commuters were asked to use alternate routes.

On Saturday, properties in the Journey's End and Orchard mobile home parks will be released to their owners. Public access to Coffey Park will start Sunday.

Authorities say cooler temperatures and light rainfall have aided thousands of firefighters across the North Bay as well as crews working to douse the Bear Fire that sparked Monday in the Santa Cruz Mountains 

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said fire crews should reach full containment by Friday.

Other large fires will take longer.

Meanwhile, authorities increased their count of buildings destroyed to 8,400 from fewer than 7,000 a day earlier as crews continued assessing fire damage, according to the Associated Press.

Crews have almost finished their damage assessments, he said. 

"We're getting back into the areas where homes are hard to access and hard to reach. That's why these numbers are trickling in," Berlant said.

The four wind-whipped fires that started Oct. 8 swept through parts of seven counties have landed on the list of California's top 20 most destructive blazes. At least 42 people were killed, and preliminary estimated of wildfire losses exceeds $1 billion.

Of them, the Tubbs Fire has broken the record as the most devastating fire in California's history, Calfire said Friday. It has burned 36,432 acres and is 93 percent contained.

Cal Fire announced it had stopped the forward progress of those fires on Wednesday as tens of thousands of evacuees were let back into their neighborhoods. More than 15,000 people remained evacuated on Thursday.

As of Thursday morning, the Atlas Fire has burned 51,624 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 87 percent contained; the Nuns Fire, which includes the Partrick, Adobe, Norbbom, Pressley and Oakmont fires, has burned 54,382 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties and is 85 percent contained; and the Pocket Fire has burned 16,552 acres in Sonoma County and is 82 percent contained.

Farther north, the Sulphur Fire in Lake County has torched 2,207 acres and is 96 percent contained, and the Redwood Valley Fire in Mendocino County has charred 36,523 acres and is 95 percent contained.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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