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A father and daughter survey the remnants of their house in Santa Rosa, California. Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP

Fire crews are making significant progress in Northern California, now working to contain the biggest fires. A number of evacuees are beginning to return home, but many are finding that their homes, and often their entire neighborhoods, have been destroyed by a week of blazes throughout the region.

The bottom line: As the wildfires subside in California, the state is looking ahead to a long and expensive recovery process. State Sen. Mike McGuire said the cost to rebuild Sonoma Country could top $3 billion.

The numbers
  • The death toll from the fires stands at 40 and is expected to rise with more than 200 people reported missing.
  • As on Sunday, 217,000 acres of land and 5,700 homes and buildings have been destroyed.
  • More than 75,000 people were evacuated, and the state is directing some of them home, including the residents of Napa and Calistoga. They are being instructed to be wary of toxic ash when sifting through their homes and belongings, CNN reports.
  • The three biggest fires are the Atlas (50,000 acres, 65% contained), the Tubbs (45,000 acres, 60% contained) and the Nuns (48,000 acres, 40% contained).
On the scene
A Santa Rosa resident stands in what remains of her home. Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP
A helicopter drops water over a fire in Oakville. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
The leveled Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge on a smoky morning in San Francisco. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.