In Fire-Scarred California, ‘If You’re Told to Go, You Go’ – The New York Times

Ms. Lindsey’s husband, Charles, said the fire, known as the Tick Fire, started near their home and moved quickly through scrubland.

“With the winds blowing, it moved fast,” said Mr. Lindsey, 68, his dog Ivy at his feet. “In the middle of the night, if you’re told to go, you go.”

Two shelters housed evacuees, according to Roxanne Schorbach, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross. Roughly 400 people spent Thursday night on cots in a college gymnasium, many with their pets; on Friday morning they ate pancakes and bagels while eagerly awaiting news.

By late morning there were no active fires in the Santa Clarita Hills, just the smoldering remnants of blazes that died down with the winds. But the authorities were allowing only some of the tens of thousands who evacuated back into their homes, fearing that winds might rekindle the fires.

A drive through the evacuation zone in Santa Clarita showed block after block of well-appointed homes, an idyllic tableau of California suburbia, mostly untouched by fire, even as the surrounding hillsides were charred and bruised. A few residents who stayed behind rode around on bikes, or shuffled by with gas cans for generators.

A husk of one white-painted house stood smoking surrounded by perfectly intact homes. The street was choked with TV news vans but otherwise eerily empty.

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