COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Making steady progress Saturday against the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, crews kept a wary eye on weather that was getting warmer and drier as National Guard troops were deployed to help local police get things back to normal.
"The weather is making progress in a bad direction. Hotter, drier, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds will shift from one direction to another," said Incident Commander Rich Harvey.
The 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire was 45 percent contained by Saturday afternoon. 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.
About 1,200 personnel and six helicopters were fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, and authorities said they were confident they'd built good fire lines in many areas to stop flames from spreading.
"Crews made progress all around the fire,'" said Harvey, who was cautiously optimistic. "The fire potential is still very, very high. It's extreme and explosive."
Two bodies were found in the ruins of one house, one of almost 350 destroyed in this city 60 miles south of Denver. The victims' names haven't been released. Police Chief Pete Carey said Saturday afternoon the approximately 10 people who had been unaccounted for had now been located.
Police did not expect to discover other victims in the rubble.
About 10,000 people remain evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the fire's peak.
The mood was light as evacuees filtered back into an unscathed neighborhood of winding streets and split-level homes within an easy walk of the burned area.
High school counselor Pat Allen and her husband, Vic Miller, were all smiles less than five minutes after returning to their tri-level home on a quiet cul-de-sac.
"I'm just wanting to kiss the house, dance with the neighbors", Allen said.
Their house didn't smell of smoke. Their electricity was out for two or three days but the Popsicles in their freezer didn't melt, she said.
Around the corner, retiree Nina Apsey wandered in search of eight small, solar-powered lights that somebody had taken from her yard during the evacuation.
"I'm assuming it was vandalism," she said.
Prized possessions still piled into the Hyundai sport-utility vehicle in her garage included caribou antlers and antelope and deer head mounts. As flames bore down, she'd also taken a small ceramic cowboy statue. Her late husband taught her how to hunt. He resembled the cowboy, she said.
She wasn't too perturbed about her missing lights because nothing else was touched.