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.
Scott Lambert, 76, paced the parking lot with dread in his mind.
He and his wife were awoken in their Creekside home at about 11 p.m. by someone driving the streets, honking a car horn and shouting to get out.
“I looked out and the sky was all orange, and the wind was blowing through the door," Lambert said. “I just grabbed a few things and no valuables even. And my wife and I left."
He drove to a friend’s winery and in the morning to a community church in Napa that is now serving as a Red Cross shelter.
Heavy smoke choked the air and bits of white ash lazily drifted down as Lambert worried aloud about what had become of the house his parents had bought 30 years ago and that he and his wife moved into. He trained in English literature but retired from the oil industry.
“I think the outlook is bad," he said. He fell silent.
A moment later, he continued: “I had my library, thousands of carefully selected books. My grand piano. My music…”