More res­i­dents re­turn as fire is cor­ralled

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION & WORLD -

More peo­ple re­turned to their homes Fri­day as fire­fight­ers made sig­nif­i­cant progress against a huge wild­fire burn­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s San Bernardino Na­tional For­est, but that was tem­pered by the an­nounce­ment that at least 96 homes and 213 out­build­ings were de­stroyed.

Thou­sands of res­i­dents chased from their moun­tain and desert homes were slowly be­gin­ning to take stock of their losses as the pre­lim­i­nary dam­age as­sess­ment was re­leased for the blaze that erupted Tues­day in drought-parched canyons 60 miles east of Los An­ge­les.

Fire­fight­ers ini­tially strug­gled to get the tow­er­ing flames un­der con­trol but later made dra­matic progress in cor­ralling the fire, which scorched nearly 58 square miles and was 40 per­cent con­tained. Plans were un­der­way to de­mo­bi­lize some of the nearly 1,600 fire­fight­ers.

A pro­longed drought has trans­formed swaths of Cal­i­for­nia into tin­der­boxes, ready to ig­nite. Sev­eral other wildfires were burn­ing in the state, in­clud­ing a blaze in ru­ral Santa Bar­bara County that prompted the evac­u­a­tion of a pair of camp­grounds.

In the south­ern Sierra Ne­vada, an­other blaze feed­ing on dense tim­ber in Se­quoia Na­tional For­est forced the evac­u­a­tion of sev­eral tiny ham­lets.

In moun­tains north of San Fran­cisco, a 6-square-mile blaze was 75 per­cent con­tained af­ter de­stroy­ing 299 struc­tures. All evac­u­a­tion or­ders have been can­celed in the town of Lower Lake.

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