About 800 of the 1,200 who were ordered to evacuate went home Thursday night and most others returned Friday.
Another good day of progress made on the #RockyFire. Fire is now 50% contained at 69,600 acres.— CAL FIRE PIO Berlant (@CALFIRE_PIO) August 8, 2015
One was Brian Foster, who evacuated his house for the second time in three years on Sunday night, along with his partner, mother and pets.
"I feel pretty wonderful, it's a huge relief," Foster said Friday. "It's going to feel so good to be home."
Foster said he woke up Friday and checked the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website and found good news.
PHOTOS: ABC7 News at the Rocky Fire in Lake County
"Sure enough in nice red letters (it) said road closures would be lifted," he said. "So far it's been very orderly."
And there was more good news.
As of 10 a.m. Friday the evacs for the Spring Valley area from the #RockyFire will be lifted. Residents with I.D. will be allowed to return.— CAL FIRE PIO Berlant (@CALFIRE_PIO) August 7, 2015
The one cat that was left at his home because she "panicked" is still hiding. "Once the other cats come home, she'll come out," he said.
But even as he basked in the joy of being home, he said he was already preparing for the next time.
"I'm unpacking today and I didn't see why we packed chicken gravy .," he said. "Next time maybe we'll have a nice box that's ready to go that's a little more appropriate."
Some 12,200 people were ordered or advised to evacuate as the wildfire that started July 29 chewed through nearly 109 square miles of dry brush burning about 100 miles north of San Francisco.
PHOTOS: Smoke from Lower Lake area wildfire seen for miles
Joe Welz was among them and returned home Friday morning after authorities gave him the go-ahead.
"We didn't burn. Spring Valley is completely OK. Everything's fine here," he said, referring to the small community in Lake County.
Things were also starting to return to normal for motorists as Highway 16 and Highway 20 reopened Friday.
"It is going good," said Hugo Patino, a spokesman for Cal Fire, noting that the fire is at 45 percent containment.
Still, some roads and homes will remain off-limits as firefighters work to put out hot spots.
But while containment grows, so does the sadness for some who lost everything
Layna Rivas returned to her artist's compound up a rocky dirt road Thursday night and found the place destroyed.
"It looked like a bomb went off everywhere," she said.
The 35-year-old left her home last week and took her dogs and cats to a friend's house. She had to leave her nine chickens behind.
She found two of them, one of which was walking through the rubble.
"She was nameless. Now her name is Rocky," said Rivas, dubbing the bird for the blaze that officials call the Rocky Fire.
Wildfires throughout the West have fed off dry conditions in Washington state, Montana, Arizona and elsewhere.
In Northern California, the flames mowed down some houses and left others untouched near Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake fully within California.
Forty-three homes have been destroyed in the blaze. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Middletown High School, Kelseyville High School
An animal evacuation center is opened at the Lower Lake Social Services parking lot, 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake.
Animal Evacuation Centers: Lake Evacuation and Animal Protection 707-263-0278
For more stories about the wildfires breaking out across California, click here.