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Power goes out as evacuees return

California Briefing | PARADISE

June 16, 2008|From the Associated Press

Milder-than-expected weather helped fire crews tamp down a series of Northern California wildfires Sunday, but a persistent blaze in Paradise knocked out power as thousands of residents were returning to survey the damage.

So far at least 74 homes have been destroyed and 20 more damaged in Paradise, about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

As evacuees reentered the area Sunday, the last power line providing electricity to the town went down, said Gregg Fishman, a spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, which runs the power grid for most of the state.

The blaze has scorched about 36 square miles, said Scott Upton, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Containment is expected by today, Upton said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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