Dozens of people were still missing Sunday even as firefighters made what officials described as significant progress in battling the wildfires ravaging Northern California. Winds have temporarily calmed, allowing fire officials to regroup. “Any day we don’t have flareups and significant fire activity popping up unexpectedly in those communities that are affected is a good day,” said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal for the Santa Rosa Fire Department. “I would say today is a step in the right direction.” Thousands of residents no longer in harm’s way were able to return home late Sunday, but evacuations remained in place for about 75,000 people. At least 40 people have already died in the blazes. Authorities cheered forecasts of rain that may help clear the dangerous air-quality conditions as far south as San Jose.
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