Wildfires in the West

Thousands of homes are threatened by fire as firefighters wrestle to get it under control.
3:21 | 05/04/13

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Transcript for Wildfires in the West
We begin with that explosive and very early start to this year's fire season. You can see it here right behind me. Homeowners are watching as the flames approach including this man standing on his rooftop. Thousands of homes in the danger zone this evening. An army of firefighters wrestling to get the worst of it under control. You can see the smoke from space, the satellite image shows the smoke blown out to sea. In a moment a big change in the weather system. Ginger zee is standing by. Clayton sandell in the fire zone for us tonight. Reporter: After a terrifying couple of days battling a monster blaze, today firefighters are cautiously breathing easier. To have a fire burn more than 28,000 acres in a short amount of time in may is something we don't see very often in california. Today the relief in the weather is relief for firefighters. Reporter: Remarkably no homes have been lost despite fire coming right up to back doors. The fire captain says it's not just chance. You see a metal door. Exterior. Reporter: He says some s are built to survive. There are no openings that would allow hot embers to come through. If we look at the roof line we have a tile roof, excellent protection. Roofs made out of wood shingles make firefighters cringe like the only one lost in california. Overall homes in california are becoming more fireproof. Since 2010 homes must have sprinklers. Firefighters count on something called defensible space, an area around a home that is clear of dry brush that can super charge wild fires. It helped save this home last year in washington state. I don't know what this was. Reporter: It's not a guarantee. Firefighter bill thomas took us to where, despite plenty of defensible space these were untouched. These were not. You try to predict fire behavior but it is by nature unpredictable. Reporter: The winds are starting to pick up here again. It's the potential for flare-ups that have firefighters worried and still 200 homes evacuated. Officials tell me some of those people may be able to go home tonight but only if it's completely safe. Clayton, thank you. Driving those fires right in the beginning the santa ana winds. Just listen. That moment when a firefighter could barely stand against it all. Tonight a change in the weather and ginger zee is here tracking it. She's with us here now. This could help. Yes. Santa anas are powerful. That's what contributed and flamd the flames. Once that happens the air compresses, arms up and dries. Now that about to change. The winds from the east to the west but this system moving in? Correct. It's going to come with rain which is the first big thing. Even if it's a half inch, anything is good. The big difference will be the humidity will rise and temperatures much cooler. Any help they can get tonight. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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