Santa Barbara (California): Thousands of residents were back home as a blanket of cool, moist air flowing in from the Pacific Ocean tamed a wind-driven wildfire that burned 80 homes along the outskirts of town during the week. Cheers erupted at an evacuation centre when police announced that mandatory evacuation orders for most areas were being downgraded to evacuation warnings, meaning residents could return but would have to remain alert.

Among the first to return were Jonathan Kenny (44) and his wife, Susan Kim (42) who found their home covered in ash but still standing near blackened hillsides that showed just how close the fire came. — AP