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article imageFirefighters gaining control over deadly Northern California fire

By Nathan Salant     Sep 21, 2015 in Environment
San Francisco - Firefighters in Northern California say they have reached 50 percent containment of the deadly Valley Fire that has killed at least five people and destroyed hundreds of homes in rural Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties.
The Valley Fire has been burning for more than a week and has already spread destruction over 74,000 acres.
"Crews continued building perimeter around the fire overnight," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Saturday.
"Yesterday’s warmer temperatures caused more hot spots on the fire," Berlant said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
But gains by firefighters have enabled thousands of evacuated residents to return home to check on damage to their homes, businesses and other property, including in the towns of Middletown, Twin Lakes and Rancho Sendero, the newspaper said.
In addition, mandatory evacuation orders will be lifted at noon Sunday for Hidden Valley Lake, Jerusalem Grade, Grange Road and Butts Canyon Road.
"While our firefighters are focusing on containment and extinguishing hot spots, an army of utility workers have been removing downed power lines and burned power poles," Berlant said.
"These are the type of hazards that we have to remove before we can lift an evacuation," he said.
The Valley Fire destroyed the Harbin Hot Springs resort in Middletown and Hoberg's Resort and Spa in Cobb and week.
Lt. Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff's Dept. asked returning residents to remain calm and to expect delays as their residencies are verified by authorities while firefighters and cleanup crews work in the area.
More than 4,000 firefighters are helping to douse the flames in the heavily wooded area around 100 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Firefighting efforts have been aided by winds that have remained relatively calm, the newspaper said.
As many as 1,000 homes have been destroyed.
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