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Sonoma County fires 98 percent contained

Fire crews are inching toward full containment of devastating wildfires that have destroyed nearly ?7,000 structures and taken 23 lives in Sonoma County, officials said.

The Tubbs, Nuns and Pocket fires are now 98 percent contained, up a single percentage point from Saturday, Cal Fire said Sunday.

“We hope to have them contained this week,” agency spokesman Will Powers said.

Firefighters have 100 percent containment on three other large wildfires that ignited during extreme winds that set Northern California ablaze the night of Oct. 8. They are the Redwood Fire in Mendocino County, which killed eight people; the Atlas fire in Napa County, in which six people died; and the Sulphur Fire in Lake County.

A few hundred firefighters remain at work on the Sonoma County fires, down from several thousand, as temperatures cool amid a shift toward autumn weather, National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Peterson said.

Temperatures will drop this week, and rain should arrive as early as Friday, as the region transitions “toward a wetter, cooler weather type of pattern more in line with our rainy season,” Peterson said.

The weekend storm is coming down from the Gulf of Alaska and could bring significant rainfall, according to early forecasts. That means exposing the county’s denuded fire zones to potential runoff and erosion, though those concerns are likely to be more pronounced later in the season, Peterson said.

“Something we are watching for is any kind of debris flow on top of those fire scars,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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