As California winds die down, firefighters hope to catch a break in stopping historic wildfires

LOMA RICA, California-- Dramatic cellphone video captures two roommates barely escaping the deadly blaze surrounding their Northern California home.

"Oh, my God, dude!" one guy said. "I can't breathe, dude."

His roommate responds: "Ah, my eyes are burning, too, dude, but we still got oxygen."

As California wildfires continue to burn, more than 40 people have been killed by the deadly inferno.

Authorities are still searching for hundreds of missing persons in the torched areas.

"It's hard to talk about putting people back to their homes, and other people will never go back to their homes," Sonoma County  Sheriff Rob Giordano said.

With lighter winds on Monday, firefighters are cautiously optimistic they may be gaining some control over the blaze.

"We are feeling optimistic," Cal Fire Incident Commander Brett Gouvea declared. "We are turning a corner. We are getting a lot more black line up there. You are seeing those containment levels coming up."

Still, over a dozen fires are still burning while thousands of firefighters continue to battle these blazes.

Officials announced the number of evacuees has gone from a high of 100,000 on Saturday down to 40,000 on Monday.

Some homeowners were finally cleared to return to their charred neighborhoods and see what's left.

"In this moment, I'm realizing you don't put your boots on and your gloves on and go sift through stuff," Napa County resident Janice Mathis said. "There's nothing to sift through."

But one resident discovered a miracle surprise: the family dog Izzy survived the massive blaze!

"Things feel good in our gut as firefighters," Gouvea revealed. "So we just need the weather to co-operate with us a little bit."

Hopefully, Mother Nature will finally do just that.