Southern California a disaster site after fires
Now that the California Wildfires are mostly under control, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked for the area to be declared a federal disaster site. As residents retuned home to see the damage in Southern California, most of them were met with charred remains, burned memories.
Hundreds of other residents were expected to line up Tuesday to get a chance to walk through the Sylmar park and see the devastation for themselves.
More than 500 people made the trip on Monday but were not allowed to sift through the ruins while cadaver-sniffing dogs were still searching the area to make sure no one had died in the blaze. No bodies were found.
Residents whose homes were intact were allowed to quickly pick up clothes, toiletries, and other belongings under police escort.
Most evacuation orders were lifted in Southern California by Monday, when clear, warm weather with little wind helped firefighters make some gains.
Temperatures in the 80s were forecast Tuesday for much of the region, but wind wasn't expected to blow much harder than about 5 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
In Sylmar, the inferno destroyed 484 homes in the mobile home park Saturday when wind with hurricane intensity blew a wall of fire through the complex, setting them ablaze so quickly that even firefighters had to drop their hoses and run.
Firefighters were able to save about 120 of the homes in the park that residents described as idyllic for its mountain scenery, swimming pool, tennis courts and community spirit.
"It's a disaster. It looks like Hiroshima," said Joan Costa, whose home was spared.
In Yorba Linda, more than 100 homes were destroyed.
Gov. Schwarzenegger has asked for help clearing up after the wildfires have destroyed more than 800 homes and 40,000 acres. He has also called for loans for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino.