Threat lowered as families return home after wildfire

THE DALLES, Ore. -- Fire officials significantly lowered the threat level on Saturday and allowed all families to return home after a tense few days fighting a raging wildfire burning along Interstate 84 near the Rowena exit.

"I had a lot of people praying," said Lorraine Nelson, who returned home Saturday with her husband, David. "All I can do is be thankful."

Fire officials estimate they have the fire 55 percent contained, up from 35 percent on Friday, and zero percent the day before.

Despite strong winds, fire crews are now cautiously using the word "success" to describe their efforts as they downgraded 143 homes from the most serious evacuation warning on Saturday down a notch.

There are still 740 homes under threat, although none of them fall under the "go" evacuation level any longer, according to fire officials.

Fire officials provided this information to residents wishing to return home:

Roadblocks on Highway 30 West have been reduced and there will be no through traffic on Highway 30 between the addresses of 4877 and 5220.

Residents living to the east of 4877 Highway 30, the intersection with Adeline Way, should access their homes via Interstate 84 exit 82. This includes Tooley Terrace, Adeline Way, and Simonellli Road.

Residents living to the west of 5220 Highway 30 should access their homes via Interstate 84 exit 76.