What to Know
- Cooler conditions are expected at the start of next week, which should help firefighters in Northern California
- At one point, there were 21 major wildfires burning in California
- Since the start of the October Fire Siege, CAL FIRE has responded to more than 250 new wildfires
The number of buildings destroyed by wildfires that ripped through Northern California this month is up to 8,900, according to state fire officials who are meeting with legislators this weekend.
Forty-two people have died in fires that were fed by strong wind gusts as they burned through communities in the state's wine country. U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and four California members of Congress are receiving a briefing Saturday from state and federal officials in Santa Rosa, one of the cities hardest hit by the nearly two dozen wildfires that sparked Oct. 8.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency say they've given out more than $6 million in individual assistance. The Environmental Protection Agency says it has assessed 740 properties for hazardous waste in Napa and Sonoma counties.
News from across California
Pelosi says the members are there to listen and learn about what Congress can do to assist in the response and recovery. The members' day began with a visit to a federally-funded Santa Rosa health center that was destroyed by the fire.
Major Wildfires Update
Since the start of the October Fire Siege, CAL FIRE has responded to more than 250 new wildfires. At one point, there were 21 major wildfires burning in California.
- Atlas Fire: The 51,600-acre fire is completely contained
- Tubbs Fire: Now 97-percent contained, the fire destroyed about 5,300 structures and burned more than 36,800 acres. The fire resulted in 22 deaths.
- Pocket Fire: Containment is at 97 percent after the fire burned more than 17,350 acres.
- Nuns Fire: About 1,200 structures were destroyed and more than 56,500 acres have burned. Containment is at 97 percent.
Cooler conditions are expected at the beginning of the week, which should help firefighters.
As of Oct. 17, CAL FIRE reported more than 12 large wildfires -- 300 acres or more -- burning across California. The worst wildfires have been in Northern California, where the death toll from several fires that tore through communities stands at 41. More than 5,700 structures have been destroyed.
Through Oct. 22, more than 6,267 fires burned 497,281 acres this year. During that same period last year, 4,529 fires burned 244,198 acres. The five-year statewide average for that period is 4,445 acres and 201,519 acres.
The state is coming off one of its wettest winters in years, which left hillsides covered in grass and other vegetation. That grass dried out during summer and turned into tinder, providing fuel for rapidly spreading fires often pushed by strong winds.