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Mandatory evacuations in east Sonoma; death toll rises to 31

Winds overnight Wednesday failed to arrive as predicted, helping keep most of the region’s fires from making significant gains, according to a Cal Fire spokesman Thursday.

The exception was the Tubbs fire, at 34,000 acres, which has ravaged large sections of Santa Rosa. That fire’s northern boundaries spread farther north overnight from northern Calistoga toward the Lake County border, said Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rosa’s assistant fire marshal who is helping provide information for the area’s fires.

“All the fires cooperated and laid down overnight with the exception of the Tubbs fire,” Lowenthal said.

While additional environmental aid Thursday included higher humidity and cooler temperatures - some overnight lows dipped down into the upper 30s - weather remained a concern. A National Weather Service alert issued early Thursday indicated conditions could worsen starting Friday, Lowenthal said.

The Tubbs fire is the state’s priority. There currently are 21 fires burning in Northern California, according to Cal Fire.

While the overnight news was a relief to the fire effort, numerous fires continue burning mostly without containment. The Tubbs fire was 10 percent contained early Thursday, a large increase from zero as of Wednesday.

Evacuation orders were holding Thursday for thousands in the region. There are 24 shelters open from Cloverdale to Petaluma, aiding 3,800 people with room for another 4,000, said one Cal Fire official early Thursday.

Fire officials have continued seeking additional firefighting help, and early Thursday learned a group of firefighters released from an Anaheim-area fire had driven through the night to reach Santa Rosa.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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