Valley Fire: 97% contained, 3,000 people left homeless, one man still missing

Firefighter Thomas Fitzpatrick walks past the remains of a house destroyed in a wildfire several days earlier, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in Middletown, Calif. The fire that sped through Middletown and other parts of rural Lake County, less than 100 miles north of San Francisco, has continued to burn since Saturday despite a massive firefighting effort. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

UPDATE: Sunday, 6:24 P.M. : The Valley Fire is now 97 percent contained and remains at 76,067 acres according to Cal Fire.

UPDATE: Saturday, 7:58 P.M. : The Valley Fire is now 95 percent contained and remains at 76,067 acres according to Cal Fire.

UPDATE: MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (AP) – Fire officials say two of Northern California’s more destructive wildfires in recent memory are expected to be contained by early next week.

The fire in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, has killed four people, destroyed more than 1,900 structures and charred 118 square miles. It was 92 percent contained Friday. It has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant says that fire and another one burning about 170 miles southeast, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, will likely be controlled by “early next week.”

The fire in Amador and Calaveras Counties has killed two people, charred about 110 square miles and destroyed 820 structures. It was 93 percent contained Friday. State and federal officials are expected to announce damage estimates later Friday.

LAKE COUNTY (KRON) — Firefighters now have the massive Valley Fire burning in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties 90 percent contained, according to Cal Fire officials on Thursday evening.

The fire has stayed at a consist 76,067 acres but has caused millions of dollars in damage and left 3,000 people homeless.

The Valley Fire is ranked as the third most destructive fire in the state’s history as is has charred 118 square miles and destroyed 1,900 structures, including 1,238 homes.

The death toll rose to four on Wednesday when rescue crews found the body of 66-year-old Robert Fletcher, who was reported missing in Sept. 16th in Cobb Mountain.

Officials are still searching for Robert Litchman, 61, of Middletown who was reported missing after the deadly fire broke out.

Last Thursday the remains of Bruce Beven Burns and former San Jose Mercury News police reporter Leonard Neft were found in burned ruins.

The fire also took the life of Barbara McWilliams, 72, who became trapped inside her home as the Valley Fire swept through her neighborhood.

Almost two weeks since the fire erupted on Sept. 12, people are beginning to return to their homes, or what is left of their homes, as evacuations are being lifted in the areas.

On Thursday, evacuees were able to return to Anderson Springs. Firefighters are working to open more areas to the communities.

Nearly 7,300 firefighters are battling nine wildfires across the state of California.

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