7,000 homes destroyed in California wildfires - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

7,000 homes destroyed in California wildfires

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Authorities say nearly 7,000 homes and structures were destroyed in Northern California's deadly wildfires, and the number is expected to increase.

CAL FIRE spokesperson Daniel Berlant says most destruction happened Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 when fires initially broke out in California's famed wine counties of Sonoma and Napa, plus neighboring areas.

More than 15,000 people remained evacuated on Thursday as crews reported progress containing the fires.

Authorities say cooler temperatures and light rainfall expected Thursday will be a "welcome sight."

Berlant also says fire crews should fully contain by Friday the wildfire that devastated Sonoma County and Santa Rosa.

Other large fires will take longer.

Meantime, California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an executive order aimed at cutting red tape and fast-tracking recovery efforts in counties affected by the wildfires.

The executive order announced late Wednesday allows disrupted wineries to relocate tasting rooms and suspends state fees for mobile home parks and manufactured homes.

The order extends the state's prohibition on price gouging during emergencies until April 2018 and expedites hiring of personnel for emergency and recovery operations.

Brown declared a state of emergency last week for affected counties and secured federal aid from the White House.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency announced Thursday it will also speed up federal disaster assistance to people affected by the fires.

The agency says it will grant a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages, among other assistance. HUD says there are tens of thousands of FHA-insured homeowners affected by the fires.

HUD says it will also modify loans for borrowers having trouble making payments due to the wildfires.

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