(Courtesy CHP)

One week later, fire crews make ‘tremendous progress’ in Northern California

A week after the deadly wildfires started in Northern California, local officials said Sunday that Napa County is shifting into recovery mode as fire crews continue to make “tremendous progress” containing the massive Atlas Fire.

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said at a morning briefing that the Atlas Fire has burned 51,000 acres and is now 56 percent contained. But Biermann said the wildfire will likely continue to burn in the hills until the rains come.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we are making tremendous progress out there,” Biermann said.

Belia Ramos, chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors, said at the news conference that officials do not anticipate any further evacuations. Ramos said the county is “now switching over to recovery mode.”

“A week ago this started as a nightmare, and the day we’ve dreamed of has arrived,” Ramos said. “It’s a long road for recovery, and I look forward to the day that this will be a distant memory in which we recall we were resilient and we got through this together.”

California Highway Patrol Capt. Chris Childs of Napa said at the briefing that roadways will still remain closed to the general public as crews work to clear the roads. CHP will not be providing escorts to residents as recovery efforts continue.

Biermann also said that the city of Calistoga appears to have been spared from fire. Fire officials evacuated the entire town last week as the Tubbs Fire approached.

“I do not anticipate with the current conditions that it will make it into the town of Calistoga,” Biermann said.

More than 2,000 structures were lost in Sonoma County from the Tubbs, Pocket and Nuns fires, according to local officials. The blazes have together consumed 92,370 acres.

The Tubbs Fire is now 44 percent contained, while the Pocket Fire is 5 percent contained and the Nuns Fire is 10 percent contained.

On Saturday, the death toll rose to 22 in Sonoma County. Six people have died in the wildfires in Napa County and statewide the total is 40.

The Napa County coroner recovered two bodies on Saturday when a forensic team searched Soda Canyon Road Saturday and recovered the remains of two people around 10 a.m.

The team recovered bodies in a home on the 1900 block of Soda Canyon Road that belonged to 90-year-old Sally Lewis of Napa, according to the coroner’s office.

The woman’s caretaker, 50-year-old Teresa Santos, was known to be caring for Lewis at the time of the fire, the coroner’s office said.

Positive identifications have not been made at this time.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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