LOCAL CALIFORNIA

The death toll from the fires has hit 41, and officials believe that number will rise as searchers make their way through the neighborhoods in Santa Rosa that burned down as well as mountain communities across wine country.

What you need to know:

  • Officials said Monday they are making good progress on the massive Tubbs and Atlas fires, which are both more than 60% contained.
  • Crews have also achieved 50% containment on the Nuns fire, but a smaller adjacent blaze near the Oakmont neighborhood of Santa Rosa continues to cause trouble.
  • Mandatory evacuation orders for Calistoga residents east of the Tubbs fire and locals living south of Lake Curry east of the Atlas fire have been lifted. Orders remain in place for several communities to the Atlas fire's north, east and south flanks.
  • Over the next few days, weather conditions are expected to improve significantly.
  • Northern California fires have scorched more than 220,000 acres since they began Oct. 8. As many as 10,000 firefighters from throughout California and surrounding states have battled the fires around the clock.

Fires resources have included 73 helicopters, 30 air tankers and 550 fire engines

State and federal officials portrayed an all-out effort to fend off California's devastating wildfires on Wednesday.

"It's an extremely stressful and challenging time," said Office of Emergency Services director Mark Ghilarducci. "We are all hands on deck."

The response involves 73 helicopters, 30 air tankers and 550 fire engines. The state also has requested 154 additional engines from the federal government and 170 from nearby states, officials said during a news conference at a state emergency operations center outside Sacramento.

"These are going to be very unpredictable fires for the next several days," Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.

Gov. Jerry Brown warned that recovery would be expensive and the state should brace for more dangerous fires.

"That's the way it is with a warming climate and dry weather and reducing moisture," Brown said. "These kind of catastrophes have happened, they'll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared and do everything we can to mitigate."

The situation remains dangerous, officials said.

"We're not going to be out of the woods for a great many days to come," Pimlott said. The state is still feeling the effects of the drought despite a recent wet winter, and there's "explosive vegetation" fueling the blazes.

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