DIAMOND BAR, Calif., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Cooler temperatures and a lull in the winds Monday allowed Southern California firefighters to make more progress against a trio of devastating wildfires.
However, officials remained on guard for any turn in the weather. Officials cautioned residents air quality would be poor and some area schools canceled classes Monday.
The fires have consumed more than 40,000 acres and burned down hundreds of homes.
Residents of Oakridge Mobile Home Park returned Monday to the spot where the Sayre Fire virtually destroyed the entire community early Saturday. Officials in Orange County said the Freeway Complex fire had destroyed 113 homes, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Crews aided by the end of Santa Ana winds had fires in Los Angeles and Orange counties 40 percent contained and a blaze to the north in Santa Barbara County was 90 percent contained.
"It's been going really well," Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown told The Orange County Register. "Crews have been hitting hot spots and flare-ups but no real major fire activity overnight, no losses."
The National Weather Service ended the red-flag warnings that had been posted during the weekend but firefighters said they were wary of the winds kicking up again.
"We don't want to drop our guard. It's all dictated by the wind," Battalion Chief Ronnie Villanueva of the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. told the Los Angeles Times.
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced Monday that he was declaring an "insurance emergency" in the fire-ravaged areas to speed up the claims process by allowing companies to send in adjusters from outside California to assist their state-licensed staffs.