COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - People who fled the most destructive fire in Colorado's history have been allowed visits to the most devastated neighbourhoods, and many found their homes among the nearly 350 burned to the ground.
Two bodies have been found in the ruins, and officials do not expect to find more.
Residents marvelled at the random path of disaster.
Nothing remained of C.J. Moore's home but the concrete, while the letters in her mailbox were unscathed.
"It's just unreal. Unreal," she said. "Good lord! I've never seen anything like this. And thank God there was nobody there. Thank God there were no people here. There would have been no been no hope."
Nearby cars were burned to nothing but charred metal, but three neighbours' homes were untouched.
Melted bowling balls were scattered in Moore's front yard.
About 7000 people were be allowed to return to their homes for good on Sunday night. That would leave about 3000 still evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the peak of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs.
The fire was 45 per cent contained late Saturday night after a long week of shifting winds that frustrated firefighters.
It was one of many burning across the West, including eight in Utah and a fast-growing blaze in Montana that forced residents in several small communities to leave.
Authorities at the Colorado Springs fire said they were confident they had managed in many areas to stop flames from spreading.
"We're cautiously optimistic," incident commander Rich Harvey said on Sunday. "We still remain focused on things that could go wrong."
Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the fire that broke out on June 23. Dangerous conditions had kept them from beginning their inquiry.