Damage Shocks Yarnell Fire Evacuees on Return Home

Yarnell evacuees reacted with a combination of shock, relief and sadness when they viewed the devastating damage wrought by the Yarnell Hills fire for the first time after authorities lifted a week-long evacuation, reports USA Today.

Chaz Shayne, 63, said his house in Glen Ilah survived the fire with only smoke damage and a light layer of ash on his furniture that swept through open windows. A stinky refrigerator, full of spoiled food, will have to be replaced.

But Shayne said many of his neighbors were much less fortunate.

“For the most part, Glen Ilah is just destroyed,” Shayne said from his house during a phone interview. “Everybody’s been having a good cry.”

As of Monday afternoon, the fire was 90 percent contained, with 249 firefighters still assigned to mop up duties, said Paige Rockett, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

Although the fire is still smoldering, “It’s less and less. The fact that we let the Yarnell residents back is really significant,” she said.

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