Residents returning to their homes following the Santiago Fire are urged to use caution when cleaning up ash and debris.
The debris may include sharp edges, nails or other objects that can cause injuries. When going through fire debris, wear sturdy shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Leather work gloves and eye protection are also recommended.
Fire ash may be irritating to the eyes and skin. If the ash is breathed, it can be irritating to the nose and throat and may cause coughing.
Exposure to ash might trigger asthmatic attacks in people who have asthma. In order to avoid possible health problems the following precautions are recommended:
If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible.
Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or do anything else that will put ash into the air.
Wear eye protection, such as goggles.
A dust mask can significantly reduce (but not completely eliminate) the amount of particles inhaled. A mask rated N-95 or P-100 will be more effective than simpler dust or surgical masks in blocking particles from ash.
Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post-fire cleanup.
Gentle sweeping of indoor and outdoor hard surfaces followed by mopping is the best procedure in most cases.
If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, wash the fruit or vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
For additional information on the safe cleanup of fire ash please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency's website at www.ochealthinfo.com.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place for the canyon areas off Santiago Canyon Road between Silverado Canyon Road and Live Oak Canyon Road, including the Santiago Estates and Jackson Ranch Road. Areas along Live Oak Canyon Road through the Trabuco Canyon area, including O'Neill Regional Park to Trabuco Creek Road, are also included in this mandatory evacuation.
The Santiago Incident Unified Command has established an assessment team to determine when residents of the Santiago Fire area may return to their homes.
This assessment begins today and will continue through at least the peak burning period and into the evening. The decision to allow residents to return to their homes will be contingent upon the anticipated fire threat and weather predictions for the affected areas.
Modjeska, Live Oak, Trabuco, and Silverado Canyons may be reopened at different times based upon conditions within each respective canyon. Only residents will be allowed to return to the evacuated areas; road blocks by local law enforcement will stay in place.
The returning residents will be asked to stay on their properties and not enter other affected areas including Cleveland National Forest land, which is still closed.
Most but not all San Bernardino Mountain communities affected by the wildfires reopened to residents at noon today.
Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for the majority of Lake Arrowhead and the communities of Twin Peaks, Rim Forest, Blue Jay, Agua Fria, Deer Lodge Park, Sky Forest and Cedar Glen. Reentry passes are not required.
A mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for areas of Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, Arrowbear and Green Valley Lake that suffered extensive fire damage.
Highways 18 and 138 will reopen to traffic in areas where the mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted.
Staff from the San Bernardino County Environmental Health Department will be at mountain fire stations passing out gloves, masks and information for returning residents.
Power was off in many areas long enough to spoil food. Since the power was restored, items have had time to refreeze. County officials warn that these food items are a potential health hazard.
California 330 and roads to Running Springs remain closed.
The Horno fire, which burned more than 21,000 acres on Camp Pendleton, is 100% contained, and training for Marines preparing to deploy to Iraq will resume Monday, Marine Corps officials said today.
Also, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced that the Tecate port of entry would reopen at 5 a.m. Monday for passenger vehicles and pedestrians. Trucks are still being diverted to the Otay Mesa or Calexico ports.
The National Football League is donating $250,000 to the Chargers Fire Relief Fund, and the Spanos family, owners of the San Diego Chargers, is donating $1 million.
The Chargers are collecting donations from fans entering Qualcomm Stadium today for the Chargers-Houston Texans game. Donations go directly to the Salvation Army and families of injured firefighters.
Also, California National Guard sergeants major have established a fund to help Guardsmen and their families hurt by the fires: www.smaofcalifornia.org. Several Guardsmen have had their homes destroyed or damaged, officials said.
Congregants of Malibu Presbyterian Church, undaunted by last week's Canyon fire, which destroyed their religious home, gathered en masse nearby today to pray and voice their resolve to rebuild.
The parishioners worshiped at the Malibu Performing Arts Center, just down the hill from where their 50-year-old church lay in ruins.
They hugged. Some cried over their loss. But the mood was redemptive.
Jesus, they recalled, would have called on them to march on.
They handed out fliers announcing that the church's ministries would continue, including seminars for parents, meetings for Pepperdine University students and a food drive for the homeless at the nearby Ralphs supermarket.
"It feels good to be back, but it's not the place we're used to," the Rev. Greg Hughes said as he prepared to lead the service.
Up at the old church before the service, Mike Rupp, 46, tiptoed through the charred remains, searching for some of the peace he had known so often in the sanctuary. Rupp was married in the church; his two children were baptized there. He tried to comprehend what had occurred.
"This building was my safe haven, my sanctuary, where I could always find God when I was troubled," said Rupp, an Agoura salesman, who brought his son and daughter to see the remains of the church. "This was a really cool place, and it will be again."
The Slide fire, which has chewed through nearly 13,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest, is expected to be fully contained by Tuesday, fire officials said this morning. They reported that the blaze is 75% contained.
Cooler weather, which has greatly aided firefighters, is expected to continue today, with winds at 5 mph to 10 mph, scattered clouds, temperatures in the low 70s and humidity of as much as 30%.
The deadly Harris fire in San Diego County has burned 90,750 acres and is 65% contained, with full containment expected Wednesday and full control by Nov. 4. The blaze has destroyed 206 homes and damaged 250 homes and 247 outbuildings.
Five people have died as a result of the fire, and 32 firefighters and 21 civilians have been injured. Today, 2,544 firefighters will work the blaze, which has cost $9.7 million to fight. The cause remains under investigation.