With the winds dying down, fire crews had gained ground by Monday morning as they battled the wildfires that devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week.
Some mandatory evacuation orders were lifted overnight after wind conditions improved, said Jaime Williams, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. Tens of thousands of people got the all-clear to return home.
The number of evacuees dropped overnight from about 100,000 to just under 75,000, thanks in no small part to the work of 11,000 firefighters battling 15 large wildfires burning over 217,000 acres across California, Williams said.
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On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown called the wildfires "one of the greatest if not the greatest tragedy California has ever faced."
Four more victims were identified during an afternoon press conference, bringing the total number of victims whose identities have been confirmed to 14.
The heavy smoke from the wildfires prompted an air quality alert to be issued for San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the valley portion of Kern Counties, the National Weather Service said. The alert is expected to stay in effect until Tuesday.
The National Weather Service says exposure to the smoke can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections.
"You can't explain and you can't tell somebody what it's like to go through this," Jan Amarillas, who lost her Santa Rosa home of 30 years in the fire, told NBC News Bay Area.
"You have to really experience it to feel the full impact of what it does," she said as she surveyed damage.