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Most CA evacuees return home

But wildfires continue to threaten homes across the state.

BALTIMORE | August 18, 2009

Mandatory evacuations were lifted Sunday allowing 2,200 people to return home in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California after the Lockheed fire threatened the Bonny Doon and Swanton areas.

There are 20 residents who are still displaced from the fire and another dozen that are now threatened by the flames.

While the 2,172 firefighters are having much success in containing the fire, now at 80 percent containment, the fire has already caused $12 million in damages and continues to burn on steep, rocky terrain, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Lockheed fire began August 12 and continues to burn; more than 7,000 acres have already been charred.

More wildfires continue to burn throughout California, with blazes from the northeast to the southwest; the state is dotted with smoke and flames.

The biggest wildfire is the La Brea fire that is burning 21 miles east of Santa Maria. It has already burnt more than 87,000 acres.

There are 14 ranches on the east side of the fire which remain under mandatory evacuation, threatening 23 residents.

Jim Turner is with the Los Padres U.S. Forest Service; he says the weather on the north and west areas has been helping fight the fire. “The marine layer has been coming in, the humidity is helping, but the east side is still dry,” says Turner.

The La Brea fire is 75 percent contained at this point, but officials are not estimating a date of full containment. The entire area remains under warning.

Another large fire that continues to give firefighters trouble is the Yuba fire burning in northeast California. It has charred 3,582 acres and is only 30 percent contained.

The blaze has 75 residences under mandatory evacuation and 277 voluntary. Two residences have already been destroyed.

Officials project full containment of this fire by August 21.

Monica Olivas and Zachary Hoffman contributed to this story.

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