Mendocino County fire evacuees allowed to return home


MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. - Officials say all 8,000 people evacuated from homes in Mendocino County have now been allowed to return. Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman said in a news conference Monday that it was a turning point for the county now that evacuees have been allowed to either return home - or to the remains of their homes.

According to Cal Fire, the Mendocino-Lake Complex destroyed more than 430 homes and more than 220 other minor structures. As of Oct. 16, Cal Fire said the Redwood Fire burned more than 35,000 acres.

State Senator Mike McGuire said ?the Redwood Fire is one of the largest fire disasters in Mendocino County history. McGuire said Monday that more than 2,000 firefighters remain on the fire lines as containment is increasing. Tens of thousands of evacuees in other hard-hit counties, including Napa and Sonoma, are still waiting for permission to go back to their communities. County and state officials reported progress in fighting fires but warned that recovery from the devastation will take years. Mendocino County Supervisor Rob Brown said that for some people, life will never be the same. "You'll see benefits within years but you're literally in for decades of recovery," he said.

More than 40 people were killed by wildfires that swept across Northern California. Eight people died in Mendocino County, including a 14-year-old boy who was killed while running from the flames.