‘Hell on Earth’ California fire death toll rises to 40.

While firefighters continue to battle the fires in Northern California, a number of evacuees are being allowed to head home. Some of them are discovering they've lost everything.One of them was Janice Mathis, who found a heap of mangled metal, rocks, and blackened trees in place of her three-bedroom, three-bath house.But she considered herself lucky to be alive, she said."I'm realizing you don't put your boots on and your gloves on and go sift through stuff," Mathis told CNN affiliate KOVR. "There's nothing to sift through."

"The first thing we think of is we're fortunate," she said.Mathis' home in Napa is one of the thousands reduced to smoldering ruins since the wildfires began October 8.With more than a dozen fires still burning, 11,000 firefighters are not only battling the blazes but painstakingly combing the rubble in incinerated neighborhoods, looking for victims.At least 40 people have died and more than 200 people are reported missing. And those who made it out alive are returning home to a heartbreaking new reality.
  • An estimated 217,000 acres have burned, according to a Sunday update from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). An estimated 5,700 structures have been destroyed.
  • Approximately 75,000 people have been evacuated, Cal Fire said.
  • The 50,000-plus Atlas fire in Napa and Solano counties was 56% contained as of Sunday -- up from 3% three days earlier.
  • The Nuns fire in Sonoma County had consumed more than 47,000 acres and was 25% contained.
  • Sonoma County was assessing damage on Sunday, the sheriff's office said, to determine if evacuated residents could soon return home.
  • The city of Napa lifted its evacuation orders Sunday, according to a tweet from the city's verified Twitter page.


Via: CNN

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