SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — In Southern California, most evacuation orders have been lifted as firefighters successfully battle a wildfire that destroyed 14 buildings, most of them homes.
Thousands of people in Tustin, Orange and Anaheim were allowed to begin returning home Tuesday evening, a day after the blaze erupted in northern Orange County.
Only a few streets remain off-limits.
The wind-driven fire raced through tinder-dry hills but Orange County fire Capt. Larry Kurtz says the winds have died and temperatures are cooling.
The fire is more than 25 percent contained.
Kurtz says fire crews now hope to go on the offensive but they will still continue to protect homes in evacuated areas. He says crews can't afford to let any sparks or embers ignite.
The death toll from wildfires raging in Northern California has now grown to 17.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office announced two additional deaths there late Tuesday. That brings the county's total to 11. The other six are spread among Napa, Yuba and Mendocino counties.
The Sheriff's Office released only the names of the streets where the deceased were discovered, and no information on the identities or circumstances of the deaths.
The series of fires that flared up north of San Francisco on Sunday night are among the deadliest in California history.
The blazes have also left at least 180 people injured and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses.
Hospitals say they have treated at least 185 people injured by wildfires that have rampaged through parts of Northern California since Sunday night.
Most of the injured were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's emergency room, which treated about 100 people since the wildfires began. The hospital said most had respiratory-related issues, including difficulty breathing, asthma and throat irritation, and 14 patients were treated for burns. Three of the burn victims remain in the ICU.
Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa treated about 50 patients, mostly for minor injuries and smoke inhalation.
Petaluma Valley Hospital treated about 35 patients from wildfires, most of whom have been released.
Knickmeyer reported from Sonoma, California. Associated Press writers Paul Elias, Jocelyn Gecker, Sudhin Thanawala, Juliet Williams, Janie McCauley and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco, John Antczak and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles, Alina Hartounian in Phoenix and Martha Bellisle in Seattle also contributed to this report.
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