SoCal Residents Return to Charred Homes

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2008 6:52 PM CST

(Newser) – Residents of Yorba Linda, Calif. sifted through their charred belongings today amid 113 houses razed by the so-called "Freeway Complex Fire," the Los Angeles Times reports. Meanwhile fire officials shuttled residents into a mobile home park near the Sylmar fire, which has destroyed 477 houses and 10 commercial buildings. Both blazes are 40% contained, while the Montecito fire is 90% contained.

Cooler, calmer winds helped firefighters battle the three blazes. But "we don't want to drop our guard. It's all dictated by the wind," one fire official said. Signaling a new strategy, air operations were dropped to four tankers and crews helped rummage for people's belongings. They also walked cadaver dogs through homes burned in the Sylmar blaze. About 500 people are still staying at an evacuation center nearby.
(Read more California wildfires stories.)