Some Evacuees Allowed to Return Home, Others Stuck Waiting

The fires in San Diego forced a lot of people north to evacuation shelters in Orange County. KPCC's Brian Watt spent Thursday morning at one busy shelter there.

Brian Watt: Frying bacon beats burning embers any day. And for an hour, as the sun came up outside El Toro High School in Lake Forest, the smell of bacon cut through the smoky air. It smelled like home to Thomas Richardson, but he took a pass.

Thomas Richardson: I wanted some, but it's just the fact that due to sleep deprivation, I've been drinking a lot of coffee, and I don't think I can stomach it right now. So I'll probably have to wait till a little bit later this evening to taste anything.

Watt: The 23-year-old security guard's been doing a lot of waiting since Tuesday, the day he left Fallbrook. Most of the 275 other evacuees at the shelter are also from Fallbrook. The San Diego County shelters were either too full, or too dangerous a drive.

Most say they're pleased with the shelter at El Toro High, even though it's 60 miles from home. But many can't get reliable information about the fate of Fallbrook and when they can go back. 78-year-old Joe White:

Joe White: We've heard anywhere from 100 homes to 500 homes. We've heard anything from going home today to going home Sunday, and I don't know who knows the truth.

Watt: To check on his own home, White called there every few hours to hear if his answering machine picked up.