Monday 19 November 2018

California governor orders speedy recovery from wildfires

Debbie Wolfe in the burned ruins of her home in Santa Rosa (AP)
Debbie Wolfe in the burned ruins of her home in Santa Rosa (AP)

California governor Jerry Brown has issued an executive order to speed up recovery as fire authorities say they have stopped the progress of wildfires that have killed at least 42 and destroyed thousands of homes in California.

More people were allowed home on Thursday and about 15,000 people remain evacuated, from a high of 100,000 on Saturday.

The wind-whipped fires that started on October 8 swept through parts of seven counties in the north of the state in the deadliest series of blazes in California history.

The fires hit hard the wine country counties of Napa and Sonoma.

Mr Brown issued an order allowing disrupted wineries to relocate tasting rooms and suspends state fees for mobile home parks and manufactured homes.

The order expedites hiring of personnel for emergency and recovery operations.

Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said by Friday, crews should fully contain one of the wildfires that devastated Sonoma County's Santa Rosa.

Other large fires will take longer, even with cooler temperatures and light rain forecast for Thursday.

"That rainfall will definitely be a welcome sight," he said.

Crews continue to battle a blaze further south that broke out on Monday night, sending smoke to the nearby college beach town of Santa Cruz and injuring seven firefighters.

It has grown to more than 300 acres and the number of houses under threat has doubled to 300. Seven firefighters sustained minor injuries, stymied by the steep and rugged terrain.

North east of Los Angeles, authorities said a charred body has been found on Mount Wilson, where crews working in steep terrain are trying to surround a smouldering wildfire.

Sergeant Vincent Plair said the male body was recovered by the coroner's office, which will try to make an identification.


Press Association

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