Californian residents return home as fires are controlled

A SECOND wave of residents displaced by Southern California’s wildfires were being allowed home yesterday after a weekend of cooler, calmer weather helped firefighters begin to bring the blazes under control.

As the threat began to diminish, authorities also began to make plans to send home some of thousands of firefighters battling blazes scattered from San Diego County to Los Angeles suburbs.

Some evacuees got the go-ahead on Saturday to check on their homes. Among them were JoDee Ewing and her husband, Steve, who found little standing of their 1920s-era house but the stone chimney, the foundation and, for some inexplicable reason, their rose bushes.

“I still have roses blooming,” said Ewing, 40. “But there’s no toilets. They disintegrated.”

The fire that started on October 25 in Upper Waterman Canyon on the edge of the San Bernadino National Forest, consumed 91,285 acres. In the last week, that blaze and a half-dozen others across Southern California have burned about 750,000 acres, destroyed 3,400 homes and killed 20 people.

In San Bernardino County, some firefighters were beginning to head home, said US Forest Service spokesman Bob Narus.

Though fog, lower temperatures and even snow slowed the spreading flames, more than 12,000 firefighters were still on the lines yesterday.

The fire that destroyed the Ewings’ house came to a standstill on Saturday, and firefighters allowed them and other homeowners to survey the damage.

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