Three fires have destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and apartments and burned 42,000 acres, or 65 square miles, forcing thousands to flee. The causes of all three were under investigation, although a human cause was suspected in a Santa Barbara County blaze.
Many residents of the 484 homes destroyed in the tight-knit Oakridge Mobile Home Park were expected to line up and walk through and see the worst of the devastation for themselves after authorities made sure there were no bodies in the ashes.
A day earlier, Michael Hernandez pulled a charred photo album from the wreckage of his home, the plastic pages melted and flaking after a wildfire tore through the mobile home where he lived with his grandparents and 7-year old daughter.
It was one of a handful of keepsakes he was able to rescue during a police-escorted tour for some residents of the park that became a flattened field of blackened trees and twisted metal.