Some Evacuees Hope to Go Home as Valley Fire Containment Grows to 45%

Residents living in Napa County's Berryessa Estates could soon go home as a mandatory evacuation order was lifted on Thursday

The Valley Fire, which has so far killed three people, did not grow overnight, as Cal Fire crews were able to battle the flames and contain 45 percent of the blaze by Friday night.

The latest acreage estimate was that the fire had burned 73,700 acres in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, the same number as Thursday, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Even better news was that residents living in Napa County's Berryessa Estates were told on Thursday afternoon that the mandatory evacuation in their neighborhood was lifted and they would soon be allowed to leave the makeshift tent city in Calistoga and return home.

But an exact date of moving back in hasn't been issued. That's because PG&E crews need to go in and check downed power lines, and arborists have to inspect fallen trees.

"We want people to get in as soon as possible," said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant, but he added that there are "hazards" that must be dealt with first.

Marco Candela has been living in a tent on the Napa County Fairgrounds for six days. "I hope our house is still there, I hope to God," he said. "I"m trying to stay positive for the kids."

Emergency workers say they are doing all they can to restore needed services and clear debris so people can safely start returning to the disaster zone. They say those whose homes are still standing will be the first ones allowed back in. For those who have lost everything, it will take a little longer. The Office of Emergency Services is trying to secure temporary housing.

As emergency workers tackle the needs of people, animal rescuers are tending to the needs of pets. Furry fire victims are still pouring into the Middletown Animal Hospital.

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