Troops' Wives Help Each Other During Fires

Two women whose homes were threatened by the California wildfires have been supporting each other while their husbands are serving in Iraq. They say it was a role reversal to be in an unsafe situation while their husbands worried.

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In much of Southern California, smoky air is moving across the region and the winds are picking up. But it's nothing close to the conditions that fueled the massive wildfires over the last week. The remaining fires are more than 50 percent contained now.

For most people in San Diego, life is getting back to normal. The San Diego Chargers were back in Qualcomm Stadium this afternoon. Last week, it was a shelter for thousands of people who'd been evacuated from their homes.

And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presided over the coin toss at the beginning of the game this afternoon.

(Soundbite of American Football Game)

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): Go Chargers. Go.

(Soundbite of cheering)

SEABROOK: Among the thousands evacuated when the flames engulfed Southern California was Sarah Diaz(ph).

Ms. SARAH DIAZ (Resident, San Diego, California): I walked outside and the winds were blowing like crazy and it was completely smoke filled. It looks like my neighbor's house had just gone off in the flames. It was so smoky.

SEABROOK: Sarah realized she had to leave, and fast. But she's fairly new to the area and doesn't know many people.

Ms. ANDREA PIGFORD(ph) (Resident, San Diego, California): Sarah ended up coming over to my place because I live off of two pretty big freeways, and that would be easy for us to go either way if we had to evacuate any further.

SEABROOK: That's Sarah Diaz' friend, Andrea Pigford. Here's the kicker: both women are wives of Marine helicopter pilots serving in Iraq. They were relying on each other this week to make it through the ordeal while their husbands are away. Andrea's been in e-mail contact with her husband.

Ms. PIGFORD: I know that he was worried about everything that was going on, but there's only so much you can do when you're half a country away. But I don't know until he comes back that he'll really even realize all that really did happened in that one week.

SEABROOK: Sarah spoke with her husband by phone as she was evacuating. He told her what to grab from their home - the dogs, the credit cards, important documents.

Ms. DIAZ: That was also kind of a role reversal, since normally we do the worrying. And this time, they were the ones that were worrying because we were in a kind of an unsafe situation.

SEABROOK: Sarah Diaz and Andrea Pigford's husbands are due back in a couple of weeks.

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