BOISE --- For the first time since the Elk Complex of fires broke out, residents living in its path of destruction were allowed back to their homes to see if anything is left standing.

We spoke with some of them Friday as they came back down Anderson Ranch Dam Road.

Residents lined up on the road as early as 6:30 a.m. Friday. And when officials finally escorted them into the burned area, they had no idea what they were going to find.

Still a smoldering and blackened mess, some residents were heartbroken to find their homes in a pile of ash and twisted metal. Others feel thankful.

To the residents that live beyond this closed road, things like fire acreage and containment numbers don't really matter anymore.

And I feel so sorry for those people that lost, I mean my tears they fell when we drove up through there. It was horrible, said Judy Lighter.

Everything is totally gone except for one cabin, said Debra Nelson whose family owns a cabin off Lester Creek Road.

It was our retirement home, they evacuated us out Friday, said Nelson.

It was on Saturday that the wildfire raced through. It was not until Tuesday that they learned the bad news.

We found out through other sources that it was gone. It was so hot it cracked the foundation. We would have to replace the foundation even, said Nelson.

For Randy Turner is was another story. His cabin off Knox Creek Road survived the fire.

My heart goes out to them. We don't know why God does these things, I look at it that way, said Turner.

Officials waited to let residents know if their properties survived. However, Randy Turner knew days before the others when KTVB flew over the fire-ravaged area.

And I got on the phone and called Randy and said, 'She is still there Randy, she is still there,' said Lighter.

I got the information through you guys first, and I am glad that you did what you did, that I got some relief early on, said Turner.

In all, 38 homes and 43 outbuildings have been destroyed by the Elk Complex Fires.

The wildfire left nothing behind for many. Now those families are left trying to figure out what to do next.

Next spring we have to see what is going to come up, see if it's even worth to rebuild. If there is no trees, then it's not worth rebuilding, said Nelson.

The Elmore County Sheriff's Office says Pine-Featherville Road and Anderson Dam Road will be open to residents only at 5 p.m. Sunday. The area is still considered restricted.

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