Posted: Jul 8, 2013 2:45 PM by Associated Press
YARNELL - Hundreds of people who were forced out of a small Arizona community because of a deadly wildfire are returning home.
Vehicles lined up along the highway into Yarnell well before the evacuation order was lifted Monday morning. Each had to present identification containing their addresses to gain access to the area.
Once in town, they saw a landscape drastically different than they remembered. Small shops that sell antiques, saddles and groceries are still intact. But more than 100 homes were destroyed, many reduced to ashes.
For those heading in from Wickenburg, a highway sign marking 19 miles to Yarnell is another reminder of what was lost. Nineteen firefighters died battling the blaze. A memorial service for them is planned Tuesday.
A recovery center for residents opened Monday in Yarnell.
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