Return Transcript main pageCNN newsroom broadcast in Southern California on October 24, 2007- ETTHIS is a hurried transcript at 11: 00. This copy may not be in final form and may be updated. Tony Harris, cnn anchor: Good morning, everyone. You\'re CNN. Let you know. I\'m Tony Harris. Heidi Collins, cnn anchor: Hello everyone. I\'m Heidi Collins. On Wednesday, October 24, developments continued in the CNN newsroom. The following is about the defeat. Hope to make a breakthrough in California\'s wildfire. Firefighters are looking for a way to transfer the wind. The evacuees are looking for a change in the landscape. But will they still have a house back? A response from the federal government. President Bush called today before heading to California tomorrow. COLLINS: And I-5. On a busy highway, some of the smoke from a controlled back burn was turned off. Back open now. Stories in the newsroom Harris: Again, I want to show you these amazing photos. San Diego Valley, California, KTLA, here is a bird view. Help me here, boy. Maybe it was a bit ominous just a few minutes ago, but there are still amazing photos of how close the wildfire is to that house in the canyon. Incredible. We have been talking about getting a sign that the wind is gradually weakening and we may get a onshore flow that will increase the humidity, of course it will help firefighters put out 15 to 17 fires in battle, but it is still-- This reminds us that this photo certainly reminds us that it is still a very dangerous situation for some homeowners. Their homes are very dangerous because of these wildfires. From this picture you can see very vividly that all it needs is a small shift in the wind direction. We are talking about homes that will be surrounded by fires. Our subsidiary in Southern California, kt la, offers dramatic photos. The story now, hopefully, may be a bit, well, on the horizon, but for thousands of people, the next few hours definitely mean everything. Before Mother Nature could provide something, more than a dozen fires swept through the landscape Maybe relief is needed later today. Nearly 1,500 houses have been burned. Nearly a million people are running, trying to get one step ahead of the flames. Many people have lost everything. Some people will suffer the same fate in the next few hours. Tired residents and fighting The tired firefighters fell into the fourth day of the crisis. CNN reporters have focused on fires, evacuees, firefighters and volunteers throughout the region. Collins: more than 900,000 people have left their homes in Southern California, nearly millions of people. Many of them are at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Our Kiran Chetry is there and has been talking to some of them all the time. You know, it looks like Kiran, they\'re really trying to make the most of the bad situation there. Cnn collins kiran chetry: Yes, they got the help of thousands of volunteers, just people who happened to live in the area and they said today, \"I hope to be able to do something, help people in need in the community. So they came. Starting at around 3: 00 local time, we see them submitting documents here. About two hours later, the newspaper went into the Los Angeles Times and everyone was grabbing a copy of them because, as you mentioned the title, 1,155 families and counts. This picture is a block in Rancho Bernardo, a block in San Diego of course, and has to be evacuated. There are a lot of people here from Rancho Bernardo who look at this and we hear them ask each other, \"is this ? \"- Do you think this is our neighbor? \"The other thing, as you can see, is that all these houses are burned down and then one is on this side and one is still standing on this side. This is so arbitrary about whether people have something to go back to, or if they will go back to ashes and rubble. Everything they do is softened at Qualcomm Stadium, hitting any way that people can get --- First, there are their basic needs, bed to sleep, warm breakfast, hot meals, hot coffee, things like that. Another thing people need, of course, is information. It is not known that it is sometimes the most difficult part, so considerable efforts have been made to ensure that people get this type of information. Internet access The Mail, as well as the pop-up Web community, SanDiegoFire. Information, people can find it there, whether their house is still there or not. This morning, some people with me got good news --- Reggie Velasquez and Raymond (ph), his 9-year- Son and Kelly (ph), his 6-year-old daughter. You also evacuated from the Rancho Bernardo community on Monday. What did you learn about your home today? Reggie Velasquez, the evacuee: Well, we know a little bit-- In fact, there was a news reporter who was our neighbor yesterday afternoon. He passed by his house. His house is very good. He said my neighbor\'s home was good. So there must be some jubilation there. We won\'t feel good unless they say we can go home, we can walk into our door and we can see for ourselves that basically everything is there. At the same time, it\'s a bit like going home. Qualcomm Stadium is usually where you cheer for the charger. Instead, it\'s been your home these days. How\'s it been? We have 50 seats in the row, but there is no football match. You know, it\'s as good as it can be. Great. We may eat more here than we did last week. Should not buy groceries this weekend. The volunteers held activities for the children. My eldest son. - He\'s not here now-- But he finally volunteered to help. And, you know, there\'s a blanket, there\'s a crib, there\'s activity. There\'s music. It\'s like we didn\'t go camping this year, but it\'s almost the closest. So. . . You know, and you have a very good attitude towards it. Many of you here have the same attitude. So, as you said, you are here because you have to evacuate, and your son finally becomes a volunteer. That\'s right. CHETRY: The community spirit here really seems to be the reason to help people get through this. That\'s what we think. My son finally-- He asked me during the evacuation. He asked me in tears, \"Dad, is this a dream? No, son, I need you to be strong. So he worked really hard in the end. He and the other brother, they filled everything up, they got here, they left, we need to do something. So they end up helping out where they can, unloading trucks and stuff like that. CHETRY: All in all, would you say that there is a goal in the response of the local and San Diego communities? I think it\'s incredible. I think other people who watch it from other places are also very surprised. That\'s what I heard. CHETRY: It\'s certainly amazing to come here and see the organization. We\'re glad you\'re okay. We are glad you got good news about your house. Thank you for talking to us. We appreciate it. Thank you. Just stay there. Thank you for being on TV with us. Say goodbye. CHETRY: So, you know, the situation that we\'re talking about here has been greatly reduced. A little optimistic, because they have a feeling of getting around the corner, hoping that the cool temperatures and calm winds mean that firefighters will deal with it, and more people will get good news, they do have a home to go home. This is the latest news from Qualcomm Stadium. I\'m Ji Lan Chetry. Collins: Okay. Thank you very much, Kiran. It is good to hear the voices of those who really stay strong and united, because as we have always said, these pictures tell a very different story, it\'s a very scary story as we continue to watch those very active wild flames. These come in again from our affiliate, San Diego Canyon KTLA, California. And I want you to know-- We mentioned earlier that President Bush did attend a video conference call with several government officials on these fires. This happened this morning in the Roosevelt Hall of the White House. We would like to continue to show this to you. ( Start Video Editing)GEORGE W. President Bush: I want to thank my cabinet members for coming here today. We have discussed many issues. At the beginning of the meeting, I summarized a series of conversations I had on the Southern California fire. I spoke to Governor Schwarzenegger. My question to him is, \"Have you got what you need ? \"? Did people in California get help from federal agencies to help good people in California cope with these devastating fires? His answer is yes. I assure him that we will provide it if he needs anything. I also had the opportunity to thank him and the California officials for their efforts to save homes and lives. I appreciate the fact that they are willing to work with the federal government. In a meeting with the cabinet secretary responsible for helping state and local authorities put out these fires, I will report to you that I am --- I believe that hard work is goodcoordinated. I understand that we are getting the field manpower and assets requested by state and local authorities. I hope we can control the wind because one of the abilities that hold us back from fighting these fires together is the west wind. I have been told that the wind may soon weaken and in this case it will make these devices available to us more effective in helping to put out fires. I initially announced an urgent statement. - This will enable us to send federal equipment and manpower to the site, including with the help of the Department of Defense. Today, I signed a major disaster statement that will enable the federal fund to start moving towards families affected by these fires. Looking forward to going to California tomorrow. I will continue to ensure that our efforts are coordinated and that we are able to meet the needs of people. But most importantly, I want people in Southern California to know that Americans on this land were very concerned about it. We worry about their safety. We worry about their property. We pray and hope everything will be OK in the end. At the same time, they can rest assured that the federal government will do everything we can to help put out those fires. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) Collins: After President Bush had a video conference call with several government officials in the Southern California region, he put forward some ideas to us. Most importantly, emergency statements from seven counties have now come into force. So, of course, that would mean bringing some benefits to the people there through federal aid, because they\'re going to move forward during the aftercare and reconstruction, who knows, given all the damage we \'ve seen in the last four days, it\'s been quite a long time. Harris: We\'ll take you to the north and east of San Diego right now. CNN correspondent Sean Kalbs reports in Spring Valley. Sean, the firefighters tried not long ago to get a little water before another hard and long day of work. Sean kalbbs, cnn correspondent: Yes, no problem. If you look at it, there are only a few firefighters who have been working there for the last 48 hours or so across the Steele Canyon area. In fact, the trucks were here because the fire was on the top of the mountain last night and there was concern that it would cross Highway 94 and jump into the area. The big problem is that if we look to the left, you can see that this is a school, which is actually the first evacuation center set up about four days ago. So the biggest concern yesterday was, can the flame jump from here? But look up at the sky. For the first time in a few days, people can see the blue sky. So there must be hope. But boy, right on the right side of the sign, and that\'s where it gets really tough, there\'s a lot of people here and a lot of people here. Among them, Celia Rada. Cecilia, it\'s been four days since you came here. How worried are you because you don\'t know your home? Evacuation personnel cecelia rada: very good, no one can tell us anything yet. CALLEBS: How have you been here so far? Rada: Well, they\'re pretty good. Everyone is fine and give us everything we need now. Your husband had a bypass surgery recently. We know the doctor has been trying to contact him. How\'s your husband? What medical care did he get? RADA: Well, until now --- I don\'t know, they are looking for a place to put him carefully in the hospital. Now, why are you spending so much time in the car? Do you feel more comfortable and warm here? No, it\'s my dog. We should point out that this is Chatita (ph) This is Mom. Look at this, Tony. Not only do we have a loose man, a husband who has had a bypass surgery, but we also have a dog and a puppy. This one -- Cecilia said she would leave this. Look at that little white paw. It became her favorite. This is the big man here. She said he would only go to a good family. She had asked people who wanted these puppies, but she said, no, no, there are still months left. If Chatita (ph) There is her way that no one will catch these cubs. Harris: Great. Great. All right. Sean, I know-- I know there is a lot of work to be done outside. But tell us, how close are you to the Mexican border? You\'re right. This is a big problem. We are about 20 miles and Highway 94 is parallel to the Mexican border. To let you know, they were injured 25 times yesterday on the hill to the east behind me. The Border Patrol told us that the authorities told us that almost all of these were illegal immigrants trying to enter the country. Last year, firefighters rescued 152 people in the mountains all year round. Four days after the fire, they arrested 200 people. So basically people give up because they are too worried about their safety. Harris: CNN\'s Sean kalbbs reports for us in Spring Valley, California. Nice to meet you, Sean. Thanks. Collins: on the front line of the fire, about 7,000 firefighters are currently fighting these different fires. So far, 34 of them have been injured at work. A professional team from Northern California is also helping. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has sent some national guards to help put out the fire. The U. S. The military also deployed personnel to assist in fire fighting. We just talked about 60 firefighters also coming from Mexico to the border to help put out the fire near San Diego. Well, are you moved by what you have seen or seen in the last four days? You can take action. You can help victims of California wildfire through our world initiative that affects you. Just go to CNN. Com/impact and see what help you can provide. Harris: The blue sky turns orange and gray with flames and smoke. CNN I- The reporter caught the burn. John zarrella, cnn reporter: I\'m John Zarrella in Los Angeles County. Finally take a rest Firefighters here open their arms in the stubborn wildfire. I\'m going to tell this story in the newsroom. CNN meteorologist jacqui jeras: I\'m Jacqui Jeras, a meteorologist. The wind may be better, but that doesn\'t mean the wind is good. In addition, it burned 645 square miles. How big is that? We will have a comparison that will shock you. ( Business break) Collins: It\'s time to report the Southern California wildfire on the fourth day. Continue to enter more and more pictures. You\'re in San Diego Canyon, California We want to go north to Los Angeles County, where CNN\'s John Zarrella stands in Santa Clarita. John, I know you have a chance to see how the authorities put out these flames from the air through some wonderful videos. Tell me what it feels like to you because you just get an incredible perspective from it, don\'t you? Yes, you really know. It\'s amazing when you go up at 6,000, 7,000 feet and you look at the vast land and all the damage below. But I can tell you that we have some very positive news to change over the last few days. COLLINS: OK. ZARRELLA: of course, the positive news is that we just talked to fire officials and they told us that there are about three or four fires burning around the command post here, in the Santa Clarita area. One of them, we heard so much about magic fire, 100% contains now. 93% of the duckweed fire has now been put out. They hope to get some mops in. up duty. As you can see, look back. The smoke of yesterday filled all this. Now you can hardly see a thin layer of smog and smoke in the distance. Just outside these mountains, on those slopes, we flew over yesterday to have a look and see the fires. (Start Video) ZARRELLA: only by flying 6,500 feet from the fire can you begin to feel their breath and magnitude. Below us is the fire of Piru. That\'s what we\'re talking about. They seem to be everywhere. Wind column-driven super- The toll file for driving downhill sides and valleys consumes everything on their roads. Give us an idea, a feeling of what we are looking at now. I know I can see the flames in the distance. Helicopter pilot aaron fitzgerald: Well, the left side you see in front of us is the Piru fire. One of us in the north is the Ranch Fire. We just flew over the fire of magic. Then behind us is the fire of duckweed. Any of the four is a challenge for these people. - To the local crew. You can see that many of them burn at once, the amount of smoke in the air, just the approximate range of the area they put out the fire, really pulling everything thin ZARRELLA: you can see everything burned down below us a few miles away. It\'s incredible. The -- You know, what do you think when you see this here and then you drive this? What\'s in your head? FITZGERALD: Well, the first thing you think about is the safety of the plane, away from things like smoke, obviously. But when you look down, you can see the fire moving towards these houses, and you know there are thousands of people being evacuated from their homes right now, these are all farming industries, so you have different kinds of livestock. People try to move animals and take their property away. So, while it may be beautiful and weird from the air, on the ground, it\'s just terrible and you know that when you look down. You can also see the range of damage, the amount of burned Vegetation several miles away. ZARRELLA: you can see the smoke rising from the flame columns that rise as the flame passes through and consumes an acre of land. In many other natural disasters, whether it\'s a hurricane, an earthquake or a tornado, you all know that victims usually have something they can go back to, and that\'s what\'s left behind. Not in these fires. They all seem to be-consuming. No matter what they touch, they burn it and burn it completely. There is very little left. It makes you wonder, what can stop them? Is there any way to stop them? Do we just have to look at them before they burn themselves out? (END VIDEOTAPE) ZARRELLA: Actually, these fires are finally starting to stop now, in part by themselves. You can see here, look at this, there is no wind blowing at all, that\'s good news. It\'s calm here, and that\'s why firefighters Heidi really mastered these fires, and grabbed their arms, completed the construction of these fires, and completed the construction of fire lines around them for containment. They told us that the real hope now is that they can start to finish here and get a lot of firefighters back into the system so they can relocate somewhere else where they need them, not here ---Heidi. COLLINS: Wow. It\'s definitely worth repeating, John, isn\'t it? You said the fire was about 100%-- Well, it\'s about 100%. Nearly 100% of duckweed, about 97. The fire on the ranch is also good. ZARRELLA: The Ranch Fire is almost the same, right. COLLINS: OK. Very good. Thank you for being the highlight there. Thanks so much. Thank you very much for the rise of John. Harris: in most parts of Southern California, virtual ghost cities are covered with smoke. Spring Valley is such a place. It\'s in the northeast of San Diego, where our Carla FINNSTROM is. Good morning, Kara. Carla fenstrom, cnn correspondent: Good morning, Tony. Well, the firefighters here are starting to report some minor wins, and it\'s actually very encouraging to hear that, because we \'ve been talking about how great this fire has been in the last few days. We came to you from the parking lot of the evacuation shelter. Yesterday, the Harris fire was actually spreading on the hillside behind us. Now, as you can see, it\'s completely clear. The firefighters beat it back. There are 500 people in the evacuation shelter who face the threat of re-evacuation, but they are able to counter the fire. Those evacuees are safe inside today. They hope to see more such victories. They said the change in the weather was good news, but they also stressed that their fierce fighting was just beginning. (Start Video) I let you out! You have to go out now! FINNSTROM (voice over) Many residents of Southern California are forced to abandon their homes. More than 1,000 houses have been destroyed and at least 2,000 are in danger. The president declared a state of emergency in seven counties, opening the door to federal aid. The 15 members of the California National Guard have moved from guarding the border to helping with fire work, adding more than 500 marines to Camp Pendleton. President Bush himself will travel to California on Thursday. Michael Chertov, Secretary of Homeland Security, is already on the ground. Michael Chertov, Secretary of Homeland Security: We have taken all of our The court has put pressure on the federal government to own troops and civil agencies such as the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture. Fennstrom: Now, the home of the National Football League\'s San Diego Charger, Qualcomm Stadium, is home to thousands of local residents who have been driven out of their homes by wildfire. Unidentified Woman: Well, my fiancé and I, he\'s sick, I\'m sick, my baby is sick. It doesn\'t seem to be the right place to go and we don\'t have anywhere else to go. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been touring hot areas to witness the disaster. GOV. Schwarzenegger (R) California: This is a tragedy happening in California. (END VIDEOTAPE) Finn Strom: Tony, as these fires continue to burn in Southern California, I really feel very sober that an estimated 1 million people are being evacuated now. HARRIS: Boy. CNN\'s -- 1 million people, think about it, one second. Carla Finnstrom for us this morning. Thank you, Kara. Collins: I want to tell you the latest facts and figures that appear in all of these smoke. More than 412,000 acres were burned. It adds up to 645 square miles. As we mentioned just now, about 1,500 houses were destroyed and more than 900,000 people were evacuated. There are 19 different fires burning. In the last report, three of them now contain 100%, so at least a little bit of very good news. (WEATHER REPORT) Harris: We\'ll also be in the CNN newsroom this morning to help the victims of the fire who were forced to leave their homes. The operation of the Salvation Army. We will talk to the people who lead this effort. ( Business break) Collins: The fourth day of fighting in Southern California. More than a dozen wildfires continue to devour dry brushes and anything else. A major California highway Interstate 5 reopened near Camp Pendleton. So it\'s a little helpful. However, nearly a million people have been evacuated. Amazing quantity-- Burned 645 square miles. As you have just learned from Jacqui Jeras, this is twice as much as New York City. Almost 1,500 houses are gone. It was submitted that the loss had reached at least $1 billion and that it was too early in the loss assessment. One person was killed and dozens were injured. Thousands of firefighters, Marines, the National Guard, and even prison inmates are on the front line. Thanks to them, residents of two blocks of San Diego will go back this morning to see what\'s left. Harris: You know, one of the few houses in the suburbs of San Diego is this person. His name is Mark suward, who repels the flames a few yards away-really, Marc? -- Only a few yards from his house. He was broadcast live at Qualcomm Stadium. Nice to meet you, Mark. What the hell are you thinking? Why did you decide to stay and fight? Why don\'t you just leave? Marc seward, rescued the home from the fire: Well, actually my home was hit by Cedar fire sweeping across San Diego in 2003, when I was not ready to put out the fire. So we left. This time I got my own fire hose and water pump in the pool and a bunch of good friends who came over and we decided to try to save the house and this time we made it. Harris: You\'re talking about putting out fire like a trained fireman. You\'re not a trained fireman. You are at considerable risk to yourself. Come on, admit it. SEWARD: Yes, there is a lot of risk, but unfortunately, you know, the fire department, I mean, when these Santa Claus are hit, their spread is very, very difficult to reach your home with equipment such as engines, so I think anything we can do as citizens helps protect ourselves, our house will help them as well, and I got a lot of good feedback from the local fire department that eventually did show up and helped us put out the fire. Harris: Hey, what have you learned from the Cedar fire, how are you prepared to accept this fire? SEWARD: The biggest difference is that I cleaned up the bushes around the house. I \'ve got about 250 feet off my entire property to make sure I don\'t have any fuel in my house. That\'s the No. One thing to do, and then the other thing is to install a fire pump, hose, etc so that you can actually put out the fire and try to control it. Get your water pipe down. Rinse your plants, your landscape, and more with a hose and try to save them. Harris: How close is it to your home? SEWARD: It\'s about 100 yards this time. HARRIS: Whoa! 100 yards? SEWARD: Yes. Harris: So at some point here, you have to calculate, wait, 100 yards, too close. I\'m here. I can\'t really run this thing. You really took a chance here, did you? SEWARD: Yes. We took the risk, but the problem is that I live on the top of the mountain, like I said before, there is a big road on my mountain ,(INAUDIBLE) My agreement with my friend is that we will bail once the fire goes through that road. In fact, we drove and ran in the driveway, and we had a scout watching, and if the flame had crossed the road, we would have left immediately. Are there any other houses in the community destroyed? SEWARD: Yes, unfortunately, when I was standing on my Hill and looking down, there were a couple of places I mean there were dozens of houses where there were only chimneys. Really sad. I know how you feel about those families. But, kid, good job. I\'m not sure if it\'s worth recommending, but it sounds like you\'re ready and you\'re doing a good job. You saved your home. Mark, it\'s a pleasure to talk to you and thank you for your time this morning. Sue: Thank you very much. Harris: no problem. CNN. Com, just another reminder, anywhere in California wildfire, from I- Report to volunteers or find interactive maps of loved ones, some amazing videos and resources. Just look at CNN. com. A special report on wildfire in California. Collins: help the fire victims who are forced to leave their homes. The Salvation Army is moving again. After a short break, we will talk to the people who lead the effort. ( Business break) Collins: The Salvation Army operating at Qualcomm Stadium has helped thousands of people, fire evacuees who have already gone there. Lieutenant Colonel Doug O\'Brien joined us on the spot to discuss this effort. He is the commander of the Salvation Army. He is in charge of San Diego County. Lieutenant Colonel, this is a very important job when we talk to you this morning. If you can tell me more good news about this. We know about 11,000 people gathered at Qualcomm\'s largest location. Now the number is down to about 7,500. Right? LT. COL. Doug O\'Brien of The SALVATION Army: Yes, I think that\'s accurate, but there are still a lot of people here, a lot of volunteers, and a lot of people who provide various services to help people when they leave. Collins: Tell me who\'s behind you. Looks like you have Salvation Army students there. We do have students here. The Salvation Army officer was appointed as a priest and trained to provide services that meet the real needs of the people. These people gathered here are part of the recovery. The team\'s efforts are only to bring some encouragement and hope to people\'s lives. For those who are shocked or unsure, they will only provide the comfort and encouragement they need. Collins: is that the number? 1 priority? This is what people tell you through the conversation you may be having, is this the comfort they need at this point? O\'Brien: Well, comfort is, of course, a big part of it. we\'re a spiritual organization --- Mentally motivated We therefore provide this support as well as material support. Since the start of the fire, we have provided food to about 15,000 people and continue to support many places where many people, including Qualcomm, have gathered to provide basic necessities, food, hygiene supplies, lipstick, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste . . What we offer them is just the basic necessities of life, as we are at this stage of crisis. What can you tell people? As we continue to watch this video, we see not only the fire and the actual flame itself, but also a lot of pictures on people\'s faces, people sleeping on the floor, can you tell them what to help them get through all this, and as you said, the big crisis in their lives? O\'BRIEN: Yes. In fact, St. Digan has had a similar experience. Just four years ago, we had a massive fire in this community, so we had the remaining memories of everything that happened, the evacuation efforts, the discovery of the burned houses, sift out the ashes of their previous house and find anything that might be left behind, so there is a leftover memory in this. There is a memory in this organization. The Salvation Army is the main agency to rebuild our homes, and unfortunately, just two months ago, we finished our last home -- Rebuilding the project from the last fire, we will be involved again in all this restoration work. Collins: I\'m sure everyone is very grateful for your support. Can you make them laugh? Through all this, how important is laughing at some point? Did I not hear your comment? Collins: Just wondering if you can help others laugh. We talked a lot about trying to get through a crisis like this, and I think they\'re really trying to find some sort of humor to get out of all that, just laughing for a while. O\'Brien: Well, you know, people will have a sense of relief when they find that people have a similar environment, and when they have arrived, they have experienced these situations before, and told them there was a light at the end of the tunnel. This brings real hope and encouragement to people. There is not much to laugh at, but people will come together and really try to get through this happy ending, which is the real happy space. Collins: A few guys behind you look like they can make people laugh for at least a second. That\'s why I asked. Lieutenant General Doug O\'Brien from Salvation Army, we would like to thank you very much for your time. O\'Brien: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Collins: on behalf of the people there, we thank you for all your efforts. I just want to remind you that the pictures we see are very dramatic and terrible. Of course, CNN I- Reporters are helping to bring some of the most amazing images we \'ve seen in photos and videos. Jeanna Lowry actually grabbed her husband Bill and watered her neighbor\'s burning deck, saying they managed to keep the house. Let\'s show you some pictures now. That\'s right there. In addition, Jose Huerta is one of the countless drivers who have been blocked by evacuation traffic. Despite the long wait, people are still very friendly and help each other, he said. Ominous clouds of smoke surround California\'s Canyon Country. i- Reporter Shie Rozow said the fire hit the ridge shortly after he shot. He was forced to evacuate twice before the end of the day. Harris: Heidi, why don\'t we show people again some of the more amazing photos we have so far, at least in the newsroom this morning. This is San Diego Canyon, California. You\'re now in Orange County, California. Boy, not long ago we saw some amazing pictures of the fire that encroached upon several luxury homes. This is the point of view now. In the canyon area, all you can really see is a lot of smoke. When you get these smoke pillars, they take the afterfire from the fire, who knows where the afterfire will flow. But that\'s it now. Look again, San Diego County. This is the Orange County you see at the top of the map. We will continue to focus on these images and bring you updates. Some houses are still under threat in Orange County. We will take a break and come back later to continue reporting the fires in Southern California. ( Business break)( Business break) Collins: A fire evacuation officer in Southern California called it surreal because her home was on fire on television. She spoke to CNN\'s Anderson Cooper. (Start Video) Anderson Cooper, cnn anchor: wildfire in Southern California has destroyed more than 1,200 families so far. One of them is Christian Williams. Thankfully, she and her family went out safely yesterday. This is good news. Then, while watching CNN\'s report on local television, they watched their house burn down on TV. That\'s her house there. She joins me now. Are you okay? Christian Williams, the evacuees: You know, we\'re fine. We are a strong family. I think I hope we can get through this. You have three children and your husband. Did you --where -- Did you see the flame coming? Williams: No, no. We -- Right in the Cedar fire, we knew we were going out before it went bad, and we did. We have three children. I can\'t put them in the house on fire. Cooper: You really saw it. - I mean, the pictures that we showed were your house burning. What you saw on TV Yes, we did. we did. Cooper: I mean, it must be terrible. . . Williams: It\'s terrible, because when you sit on the edge of your seat and wait to see how your house is, you don\'t know, there, on the news, go down. I think the word is correct and it is surreal. Cooper: Now, I believe, you \'ve given us what the house looks like now, and we \'ve got pictures. Williams: Yes. Cooper: these are--what is that? Williams: When we bought it, there was a missile under the house. I don\'t know why it\'s there, but it\'s--it\'s empty. Cooper: That\'s it. . . Williams: That\'s my home. This is the foundation there, as well as the front porch and the living room. You can see my front recliner there, that\'s my daughter\'s bike. That\'s her first bike. It\'s a -- I don\'t think she will ride that car soon. Cooper: How did you get these pictures? Williams: I have a friend-- Working with animals, saving animals, he took them for me. Cooper: What is that? That\'s my husband\'s lumber shop. You can see the CNC machine. we have a generator in it. We have band saw, all his tools, all his wooden tools, all his metal tools. This is part of our barn. We had a big barn there, he had the story at the bottom, my photography and all my photography equipment there. Cooper: Feeling-- Is this feeling true at this point? Williams: Oh, oh, no, no, it doesn\'t feel real until I\'m there. I just want to go home. I saw the pictures. I just wanted to go home. I want to hold my hand and I just want to put them in the rest of my house, right where the rest of my house is, because, you know, that\'s still my house. Or mine. Do you think you can rebuild it? Oh, we will rebuild. Cooper: No doubt. Williams: no doubt. Or our Shangri-La. La. We still like it. I wish you and your family all the best. Williams: Thank you. thank you very much. Cooper: keep strong. We will. (END VIDEOTAPE) Harris: forced to leave home, there are now nearly a million people. think about it and evacuate a city as big as San Antonio. We are talking about nearly a million people seeking asylum in Southern California. We will tell you more about the volunteers. ( Business break) Collins: Thousands of people volunteer their time, donate money, and provide food for those displaced by the fire. Our Barbara Starr reports from the Pentagon this morning. Barbara told us that some of the volunteers included American troops injured in the war. I want you to know how to help you. Check out California Volunteers. Information about local volunteers and donations. The Red Cross also has volunteers in the area. You can find them at the Red Cross. org. You can call the governor\'s emergency services office for assistance information. Their number, what you see on the screen, 1-800-750-2858. As usual, look at CNN. Learn how you influence your world. CNN Newsroom continues our fire report after a quick break here. Harris: Don Lemmon is in Atlanta, Kayla Phillips at Qualcomm Stadium. We will be back soon. ( Business break) To order a video of this transcript, please call 800-CNN- News or use our secure online order at www. voxant.