California governor orders speedy recovery from wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order to speed up recovery as fire authorities say they've stopped the progress of wildfires that have killed at least 42 and destroyed thousands of homes in Northern California.

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

The wind-whipped fires that started Oct. 8 swept through parts of seven counties and is the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. The fires hit hard the wine country counties of Napa and Sonoma.

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

The order extends the state's prohibition on price gouging during emergencies until April 2018 and 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.

Meanwhile, crews continued to battle a blaze further south that broke out 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.

Northeast of Los Angeles, authorities say a charred body has been found on Mount Wilson, where crews working in steep terrain are trying to surround a smoldering wildfire.

Sheriff's Sgt. Vincent Plair says the male body discovered late Wednesday was recovered by the coroner's office, which will try to make an identification.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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