(TNS) - As the number of people confirmed dead in Northern California fires rose to 11, officials are hoping that lesser winds Tuesday will allow firefighters to get a handle on the blazes that have ravaged upwards of 100,000 acres.
The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department confirmed late Monday night that one person in the county had died, according to Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. The majority of the fatalities are from Sonoma County, where huge swaths of the city of Santa Rosa were leveled in flames from the Tubbs fire — seven people died in Sonoma County, two in Napa, and one in Mendocino County, Berlant said.
Red flag warnings in effect throughout much of Northern California have expired as of Tuesday morning, Berlant said. Winds of up to 50 miles per hour Sunday night had helped spread flames.
“Overnight the wind that had fanned these fires had really decreased, and that gave us an opportunity to really take a stand against these fires,” Berlant said early Tuesday. “We are again today hoping to see very little wind compared to Sunday.”
As of about 7:30 p.m. Monday, the 16 fires in Northern California had burned upwards of 100,000 acres and destroyed at least 1,500 homes, businesses and other structures.
Several thousand firefighters from across the state are battling the blazes, and some strike teams from Southern California have been sent up north, Berlant said. The California National Guard has deployed six additional helicopters to aid in firefighting efforts.
Still, evacuees may not be able to return to their homes just yet.
“Many of these fires, it’s going to take several more days, even potentially more weeks, before we have full containment,” he said.
Meanwhile in Anaheim Hills, a blaze had reached between 5,000 and 6,000 acres by 11 p.m. Monday, damaging or destroying at least 24 homes, said Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Larry Kurtz.
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