YANKEE HILL, Calif. — After a tense night of waiting to learn if their property had survived a devastating wildfire, Butte County residents forced to flee their homes were told Saturday they could return.
More than 40 of the people who evacuated some 400 homes had spent the night at Spring Valley School, where they anxiously awaited the addresses of homes that burned.
"I think not knowing is the worst," said Shay Sicklesteel.
The 6,580-acre fire, which had burned at least 26 houses in the area 85 miles north of Sacramento, was one of three major fires burning in California's Sierra Nevada range. A fire 25 miles west of Lake Tahoe was mostly contained, and one in Calaveras County was moving away from homes.
The number of homes claimed by the Butte County fire was expected to be revised upward when fire officials completed a full assessment, said Nancy DeVeaux, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry.
At least 400 homes and 450 outbuildings had been considered threatened. The fire was 20 percent contained Saturday.
Across the West, 14 major fires burning as of late Friday had blackened 190,426 acres in California, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming.