SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. (KGO) -- After being chased from their homes by the Bear Fire, families were allowed to return to some areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains on Thursday.
There is still smoke in the air but homes in the Las Cumbres neighborhood were not damaged by flames.
Cal Fire reports the Bear Fire is 35 percent contained.
A spokesperson said crews have completed indirect fire lines and are now waiting for the fire burning in inaccessible areas to reach those fire lines. Cpt. Jordan Motta said the fire was burning slowly.
Damp, cool weather is also helping.
As one man unpacked is SUV on the driveway of his unscathed mountain home, he described packing up his wife and kids -- plus a dog, turtles, a guinea pig and family photos and leaving in the middle of the night when the fire broke out. He said they could see the fire burning just beyond their house.
He's happy to be home and said he's learned important lessons about being prepared. He plans to be more diligent about creating a defensible space around his house and he will no longer stack firewood up against his home.
PHOTOS: Crews battle wildfire in Santa Cruz Mountains