Water tanker used to fight Nuns Fire involved in accident; one dead

Authorities are increasingly optimistic that they have turned the tide in their week-long battle against the deadliest wildfires in California's history.

Improving weather, the prospect of some light rain later in the week and tightening containment of the flames were tempered by the first death from the firefighting effort - a driver who was killed when his truck overturned on a winding mountain road. No other information was available on the driver or the crash, which happened shortly before daybreak.

About 40,000 evacuees are still waiting for permission to go back to their communities, down from 100,000 on Saturday.

COOPER: This is just unbelievable. "I can't miss too many paychecks". "I want to rebuild".

By 2:00 a.m., hurricane-force gusts carried the inferno across Highway 101 and by the early hours of Monday morning, it reached Coffey Park, a populated area of Santa Rosa, razing much of the area.

KRON4's Lydia Pantazes is there this morning.

Because fires are getting worse, they are eating up a bigger and bigger chunk of the overall Forest Service budget.

He predicted a quarter-inch would fall late Thursday in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Despite the progress, nearly 1,000 homes still are considered to be under threat, and not all mandatory evacuations have been lifted, officials said.

Adam Plasse, 18, of Santa Rosa, took day after day off from the garage where he works as an auto mechanic, forfeiting pay to try to defend his century-old house from the flames.

The inmate was teamed up with firefighters battling a blaze in Las Cumbres, an elevated region of Santa Cruz that had been evacuated, Cal Fire officials said.

SCHAPER: Some of the things here are recognizable - the metal pole and rim from the basketball hoop laying down in the driveway, the metal frame of the trampoline out back. The Forest Service said it had paid $14 million of that and was trying to resolve differences over the rest.

More than three-dozen people have been arrested in Sonoma County since wildfires broke out in Northern California wine country, officials said Tuesday.

"Every day we keep hearing sirens at night, alarms", Hernandez said.

One Santa Rosa resident who also lost her home to the fires reflects on the setbacks resulting from such destruction.

The smell of smoke remained thick in the air and spread to the San Francisco area, but skies were clearer in some places.

"I'm worried", Plasse said.

As a result of this strong system in the Pacific Northwest, in addition to the flooding concerns, travel may be impacted due to strong winds and snow in some of the higher mountain passes.

"Mop-up's going to be the key".

"We're cautious", she said. When that happens, everyone involved negotiates a cost-sharing deal, sometimes leading to disputes. The blazes have destroyed some 5,700 homes and other structures. A state fire investigation found the utility and its contractors failed to maintain a gray pine tree that slumped into a power line igniting the September 2015 fire in Amador County.

Gonzalez walked away from the fire as the officers approached, Harris said.

The biggest sense was relief that they did not have to compete with others to find another home.

(Derechos de autor © 2015. Todos los derechos reservados.)

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